Eliminate violence against women, the most widespread, pervasive human rights violation
According to the UN, violence against women and girls (VAWG) is not only one of the worst forms of discrimination but also remains the most widespread and pervasive human rights violation in the world, 11 UN entities said on Friday, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
One in three women are thought to experience gender-based violence in their lifetime, according to a statement launching the “UNiTE! Activism to End Violence against Women and Girls campaign.”
Moreover, that last year, nearly one in five 20- to 24-year-old women had been married before turning 18 and less than 40 percent who experience violence sought the help of any sort.
At the same time, global emergencies, crises, and conflict have further intensified VAWG and exacerbated the drivers and risk factors.
The statement reads, “Since the beginning of COVID-19, 45% of women reported that they or a woman they know has experienced a form of VAWG.”
Combatting the scourge
While ending gender-based VAWG might seem unimaginable, the UN underscored that “it is not”.
The statement continued, “Significant reductions in violence against women can be achieved through intensive feminist activism and advocacy along with evidence- and practice-informed multisectoral action and investment.”
Citing evidence suggesting that “strong and autonomous feminist movements” as being “the most critical factor” in ending VAWG, UN Women and its sister agencies are calling upon governments and partners to “act now to end violence against women and show their solidarity to women’s rights movements and activists”.
Taking steps, making a stand
The UN is requesting more long-term funding and support for women’s rights organizations working to prevent and address VAWG through the UNiTE campaign.
It is also advocating for resisting the rollback on women’s rights; amplifying the voices of women human rights defenders and feminist women’s movements; mobilizing more actors to join movements to end VAGW globally; and promoting the leadership and participation of women and girls in political, policy making, and decision-making spaces.
The statement also underscores the need to strengthen protections to prevent and eliminate violence, harassment, threats, intimidation, and discrimination against women human rights defenders and women’s rights advocates/activists.