Violence against women has been described as a global epidemic, and is perhaps the most widespread and socially tolerated form of human rights violations. It affects women of all ages, race, culture and socio-economic situations. The impacts of violence ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls, including death. Violence prevents women from fully participating in society and has negative consequences for women as well as their families, the community and the country at large ~ United Nations.
Violence against women (VAW), also known as sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is collectively, violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women and girls. Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her life time with the abuser usually someone known to her ~ Kofi Annan
The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women states, "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women" and "violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men."
Some of these violence are: rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, reproductive coercion, female infanticide, prenatal sex selection, obstetric violence, and mob violence; as well as harmful customary or traditional practices such as dowry violence, female genital mutilation, marriage by abduction and forced marriage.
In Recommendation Rec(2002)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the protection of women against violence, the Council of Europe stipulated that VAW "includes, but is not limited to, the following":
● Violence occurring in the family or domestic unit, including, inter alia, physical and mental aggression, emotional and psychological abuse, rape and sexual abuse, incest, rape between spouses, regular or occasional partners and cohabitants, crimes committed in the name of honour, female genital and sexual mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, such as forced marriages.
● Violence occurring within the general community, including, inter alia, rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in institutions or elsewhere trafficking in women for the purposes of sexual exploitation and economic exploitation and sex tourism.
● Violence perpetrated or condoned by the state or its officials;d. violation of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict, in particular the taking of hostages, forced displacement, systematic rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy, and trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and economic exploitation.
We all have a responsibility to end violence against women and girls. Here are few ways we can protect women and girls:
● Learn about violence against women and girls and what causes it. Your education is a vital tool to end it.
● Talk to family, friends and community members about how violence and fear of violence affect the daily lives of women and girls. Talk about new strategies on how you can support each other to help end violence.
● Volunteer to work with violence against women and girls prevention programs in your community.
● Make your home violence-free. Children who have witnessed or suffered from gender-based violence are more likely to become victims and abusers later in life.
● Words are powerful, especially when spoken by people with power over others. Don’t use disrespectful words.