FIGO reaffirms commitment to Elimination of Violence Against Women

On 25 November 2014, FIGO reaffirms its commitment to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

On 25 November 2014, FIGO reaffirms its commitment to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In 2008, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Kimoon launched UNiTE to End Violence against Women - a multi-year campaign aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.

Governments, civil society, women’s organisations, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system are encouraged to work together to address the global pandemic of violence against women and girls. Violence towards women takes many and varied forms, including intimate partner violence - via physical, sexual and emotional abuse - so-called ‘honour’ killings, female genital mutilation (FGM), trafficking, conflict-related sexual violence and forced and early marriages.

Statistics make sobering reading: more than 125 million girls and women have experienced some form of FGM in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the practice is most common; rape has long been a tactic in modern warfare, with conservative estimates suggesting that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and it is estimated that of all women killed in 2012, almost half were killed by intimate partners or family members.

Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, FIGO President, said:

‘In its unique global role as an advocate for women’s health, FIGO is ideally placed to encourage its 125 Member Societies to build on the robust work already being done worldwide to help prevent violence against women, and to deal competently and compassionately with its harrowing consequences.’

To bolster FIGO’s work in this area, FIGO has recently established a dedicated Working Group on Gender Violence, which includes stakeholders from the United Nations agencies working in the field. The Group will have special focus on psychological violence, childhood pregnancy and gender violence in conflict situations/areas of environmental disaster, as well as considering two specific aspects related to gender violence: advocacy and training.

Professor Arulkumaran continued:

‘Training is vitally important: clinicians must continue to scale up so that healthcare professionals better recognise the signs of violence, and better assist their patients towards successful outcomes. This scaling up should focus on areas such as effective, confidential consultation and adequate referral systems. Women who suffer the effects of violence have very specific physical and psychological needs, and there must be sensitivity to these facts. Our new Working Group - comprised of international experts - will be a vital adjunct to global efforts.’