Violence against women

Published on, updated December 2009.

In launching his new 2008 campaign, UNite to End Violence Against Women, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon observed that “at least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime” … //

… Whilst rich countries are by no means free of violence against women, the problems – which range from domestic violence to honour killings – are perceived to be more serious in developing countries. The task of its elimination must involve a combination of legislation and cultural evolution,
encouraging women to disclose their experiences.

An extreme example of the necessity for effective legislation occurs in those African countries where deep-rooted tradition accounts for the widespread practice of female genital mutilation FGM. Despite being outlawed in most of the 28 countries where it survives, FGM endangers perhaps as many as three million girls each year.

The incidence of violence against women is known to increase in circumstances of economic stress or conflict. In the extreme, rape has been exploited as a weapon of war. The incidence of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Darfur, Northern Uganda and Sierra Leone may never be known, let alone carry any hope of accountability. (full text).

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