Violence Against Women

November is the month to talk about Elimination of Violence Against Women

Violence against women (VAW) is a global issue, a human rights issue, and a major public health problem.

Around the world:

November marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and we recognise how much work there is to do, and how we must shout ‘No’ together and in solidarity with the:

  • 1 in 3 women who have experienced physical or sexual violence
  • 603 million women who live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime
  • 1 in 2 female homicide victims in the U.S. who are murdered by a current or ex-partner

Forms of violence:

Violence against women does not take only one form. According to Article 1 of the Declaration by the United Nations on the Elimination of Violence Against Women it can be physical, sexual or psychological harm; it is also coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes threats of such action, and it does not matter if it occurs in public or private life: it is gender-based violence (GBV) and it must be eliminated.

  • War and conflict exacerbate violence. In these contexts, domestic violence, human trafficking and forced child marriage increase; more than half of refugee and migrant women experience sexual violence along their routes in search of security and safety
  • Child marriage constitutes a serious violation of children’s rights, impeding their physical liberty and ability to decide what their own future will be. Every day, 37,000 girls under the age of 18 are forced to get married
  • Stalking is an increasingly common form of violence: a pattern of harassing or threatening tactics that are both unwanted and cause fear or safety concerns; in almost 9 out of 10 cases, the stalker is known to the victim
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a practice in some cultures that involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Banned by the United Nations General Assembly, more than 3 million female children are subject to FGM every year, with severe consequences for their physical and psychological health.

Health Consequences of VAW:

The World Health Organization defines VAW as a major public health problem. It affects all aspects of a women’s wellbeing: physical, psychological, sexual, reproductive and social, with severe consequences including:

  • Death (by homicide or suicide, with rates five to eight times higher than the general population)
  • Bodily injury, including traumatic injury and chronic pain
  • Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, eating disorders
  • Sexual dysfunctions, infections
  • Unintended pregnancy, miscarriage or premature delivery
  • Loss of job and wages, addition, social and family isolation

If you are victim of violence, there are emergency numbers and organisations you can contact.

Publications:

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