Today marks the beginning of the 16 days of activism for the elimination of violence against women which is slated to be concluded on December 10, 2021, commemorating the ‘International Human Rights Day.’
According to statistics from the United Nations (UN), nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime.
The above figure continues to rise in times of crisis as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and other humanitarian and climate disasters.
According to the data gathered by the UN during the pandemic from 13 countries, only 1 in 10 women said that victims of violence would get help from the police.
With the 2021 theme as; ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!’, the UN has stated four reasons why violence against women must stop.
1. Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in the world, which remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.
2. The adverse psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences of VAWG affect women at all stages of their life such as restrictive access to higher education which may translate into limited opportunities in future.
3. While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable.
This includes, young girls, older women, women who identify as bisexuals, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those living through humanitarian crises.
4. Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as the fulfilment of women and girls’ human rights.
In all, the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ‘to leave no one behind’ cannot be fulfilled without putting an end to violence against women and girls in every society.