A staggering one-in-three women, experience physical, sexual abuse

UN Women International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Violence against women and girls is among the most widespread, and devastating human rights violations in the world, but much it is often unreported due to impunity, shame and gender inequality, the UN highlighted ahead of Monday’s World Day to stamp out abuse of women and girls.

Here is the grim reality, in numbers: A third of all women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, half of women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family, and violence perpetrated against women is as common a cause of death and incapacity for those of reproductive age, as cancer, and a greater cause of ill health than road accidents and malaria combined.

The prevalence of the issue, “means someone around you. A family member, a co-worker, a friend, or even yourself” has experienced this type of abuse, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message to mark the Day.

“Sexual violence against women and girls is rooted in centuries of male domination”, he added, reminding the world that stigma, misconceptions, under-reporting and poor enforcement of laws perpetuate impunity in rape cases.

“All of this must change…now”, the UN chief urged.

Damaging flesh, imprinted in memory

To spotlight the scale of the problem, on this year’s International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, the United Nations is sharing the many ways in which the scourge manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, and the organisation is underscoring the life-altering, adverse consequences women suffer as a result.

  • intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide);
  • sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment);
  • human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation);
  • female genital mutilation
  • child marriage.

The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”, the UN highlighted on the Day.

Beginning Monday, and for the upcoming two years, the UN chief’s UNiTe to End Violence against Women campaign will focus on the issue of rape as a specific form of harm, encouraging people to join the initiative and “Orange the World.”

UN Women’s Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, expressed her concerns when it comes to rape specifically.

She said the end of the horrendous act would mean eliminating a “significant weapon of war from the arsenal of conflict”, the absence of a daily risk assessment for girls and women who actively work to avoid an incident that could leave them scarred.

“Rape isn’t an isolated brief act. It damages flesh and reverberates in memory. It can have life changing, unchosen results – a pregnancy or a transmitted disease”, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka stressed, adding that consequences of a one-time act can sprawl into damaging long-term effects.

“It’s long-lasting, devastating effects reach others: family, friends, partners and colleagues”, she continued. ­

In addition, research by the World Health Organization (WHO), details disturbing impacts of violence on women’s physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health:

Women who experience physical or sexual abuse are twice as likely to have an abortion, and the experience nearly doubles their likelihood of falling into depression. In some regions, they are 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV, and evidence exists that sexually assaulted women are 2.3 times more likely to have alcohol disorders.

More women abused than not, in US

Some national studies examining incidents in the United States show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and or sexual violence from an intimate partner, according to UN Women.

The agency cited that nearly a quarter of female college students reported having experienced sexual assault or misconduct in the US, but harm targeting women and girls knows no bounds.

Multi-country investigations by WHO show partner violence to be a reality for 65 per cent of women in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and around 40 per cent of women in South Asia, as well as Andean parts of Latin America.

Meanwhile, even in regions where incidents are less likely, as in East Asia and Western Europe, more than 16 per cent and 19 per cent of women have experienced intimate partner violence, respectively.

Psychological violence is another layer to the problem, with some 82 per cent of women parliamentarians in a recent study, reporting having experienced remarks, gestures, threats, or sexist comments while serving – most often via social media.

While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, women who identify with the LGBTI community, migrants and refugees, indigenous minorities, and those living through humanitarian crises, are particularly vulnerable to gender-based harm.

“Almost universally, most perpetrators of rape go unreported or unpunished”, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka explained. “For women to report in the first place requires a great deal of resilience to re-live the attack…In many countries, women know that they are overwhelmingly more likely to be blamed than believed.”

Attacks targeting women continue to be an obstacle to achieving equality, and impede the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to leave no one behind.

Several public events are being coordinated for this year’s International Day to commemorate the fight against gender-based violence, spotlighting rape specifically.

Criminalizing the offense, placing women in positions of power, and strengthening the capacity of law enforcement, are some steps to increase accountability in incidents of sexual assault.

The effects of such violations suppress voices and traumatize, at “an intolerable cost to society”, said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka.

“No further generations must struggle to cope with a legacy of violation.”                     

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Ukraine undecided over a strategic partnership with the EU

One billion people have preventable eye conditions, increasingly linked to lifestyle choices: UN health agency

Car clocking: MEPs call for new legislation to combat odometer fraud

Conference on the Future of Europe: Plenary meets for the first time

Independent Ethics Body: improving transparency and integrity in EU institutions

Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission takes first step to launch negotiations with the United Kingdom

Britain and Germany change attitude towards the European Union

What if big-tech companies became non-profits?

Africa is helping the drone industry get off the ground. Here’s how

“Financial crisis will not happen in China!”, the Chinese Premier underlines from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Medical students, climate change and health: an unorthodox combination

This is how the tech giants are helping tackle coronavirus

Attack on UN compound in Somalia may be ‘violation of international humanitarian law’

EU summit: step up work for recovery, and update migration and asylum system

OECD joins with Argentina to fight financial crime

Why your next car is a bike

This is what countries are doing to fight plastic waste

Security Union: A Counter-Terrorism Agenda and stronger Europol to boost the EU’s resilience

The impact of mobile and rapid digital adoption on how India consumes

Can the COVID-19 response lead to an immunization renaissance?

European Junior Enterprises to address the significant skills mismatch in the EU between school and employment

European Year of Rail: Connecting Europe Express now leaving the station

A new arrangement between Eurozone’s haves and have-nots

Strength in unity: Commission makes recommendations for the EU’s next strategic agenda 2019-2024

Sex education: the application of sexual and reproductive rights in the fight against HIV

Bid to raise $5.5 billion for millions of Syrians and their host communities

Where do Americans stand on immigration? They’re not as divided as you might think

The US pipeline attack shows the energy sector must act now on cybersecurity. Here are 6 ways how

Lebanon: EU delivers additional emergency assistance following the explosion in Beirut

Scientists studied microbes feeding on Antarctica’s first methane leak – here’s what they found

The EU might as well go down the drain if foreign meddling corrupts May’s elections

Climate experts pledge to scale up high-altitude fight against mountain melt

At this Italian bookshop, children swap their recycling for something to read

“Is Europe innovative? Oh, Yes we are very innovative!”, Director General of the European Commission Mr Robert-Jan Smits on another Sting Exclusive

OECD, BSR and Danone launch 3-year initiative to strengthen inclusive growth through public-private collaboration

UN-based World Summit Award (WSA) presents its master list on digital innovation with impact on society from 24 countries

Foreign fighters: ‘One of the most serious dimensions’ in global counter-terrorism struggle

Young and unemployed the perfect victims of ‘vultures’

At UN, Somalia’s President spotlights country’s progress, but cautions eradicating terrorism ‘will not be easy’

Military escalation will have ‘serious consequences’ for Yemeni civilians, warns UN Special Envoy

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Latest news from Monday’s World Health Organization briefing

The EU wants to create 10 million smart lampposts

Nine children killed or maimed in Afghanistan every day: UN Children’s Fund

Technological innovation can bolster trust and security at international borders. Here’s how

Remarks by Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius on the Zero Pollution Action Plan

The ECB ‘accidentally’ followed IMF‘s policy advice for growth and job creation by printing more money

COVID-19: first go-ahead given to the new Recovery and Resilience Facility

Investment, not debt, can kick-start an entrepreneurial Europe

UN will do ‘utmost to prevent and mitigate any risk of violence’ in DR Congo, pledges Mission chief

Unanswered questions for Europe’s youth in President Juncker’s State of Union

Deep science: what it is, and how it will shape our future

Germany loves a strong euro; the new Fiscal Councils can deliver despite the Greek chaos and a wider questioning of austerity

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wins Nobel Peace Prize

G20 LIVE: “International communities and leaders have great expectations for 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou China”, Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s special envoy stresses live from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Council strongly criticised over failing to act to protect EU values in Hungary

Urban Waste Water: Commission decides to refer Slovenia to the European Court of Justice over waste water treatment

Additional and more flexible funding to help those most in need

Why exchange programs are essential for the medical students of the 21st century

Europe had a record year for Measles – and it’s partly down to anti-vaccine campaigners

Pollinating insects: Commission proposes actions to stop their decline

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: