“Throughout the world, one in three women will experience violence in their lifetime, such as beating, rape, or assault.” This figure was first reported by UNIFEM a decade ago [in 2003]. Its validity has since been validated & elucidated—as the following research information will show.
Below are some up-to-date facts concerning Violence Against Women (along with their source references) that you can use in our Zonta Says No campaign.
Currently on the UNWomen website: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures Facts and Figures: Ending Violence against Womenz: A pandemic in diverse forms
According to a 2013 global review of available data,
- 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. However, some national violence studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner.
- In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, intimate partner violence accounts for between 40 and 70 per cent of female murder victims.
- More than 64 million girls worldwide are child brides, with 46 per cent of women aged 20–24 in South Asia and 41 per cent in West and Central Africa reporting that they married before the age of 18. Child marriage resulting in early and unwanted pregnancies poses life-threatening risks for adolescent girls; worldwide, pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of death for 15-to-19-year-old girls.
- Approximately 140 million girls and women in the world have suffered female genital mutilation/cutting.
- Trafficking ensnares millions of women and girls in modern-day slavery. Women and girls represent 55 per cent of the estimated 20.9 million victims of forced labour worldwide, and 98 per cent of the estimated 4.5 million forced into sexual exploitation.
- Rape has been a rampant tactic in modern wars. Conservative estimates suggest that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992–1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina , while approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were targeted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
- Between 40 and 50 per cent of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.
- In the United States, 83 per cent of girls aged 12 to 16 have experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools.
- Women in urban areas are twice as likely as men to experience violence, particularly in developing countries .
- In New Delhi, a 2010 study found that 66 per cent of women report experiencing sexual harassment between two and five times during the past year.
- Women are already two to four times more likely than men to become infected with HIV during intercourse. Forced sex or rape increases this risk by limiting condom use and causing physical injuries .
- In the United States, 11.8 per cent of new HIV infections among women more than 20 years old during the previous year were attributed to intimate partner violence.
The high cost of violence
- Annual costs of intimate partner violence have been calculated at USD 5.8 billion in the United States in 2003 and GBP 22.9 billion in England and Wales in 2004 .
- A 2009 study in Australia estimated the cost of violence against women and children at AUD 13.6 billion per year . –
Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO, said “These findings send a powerful message that violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions.”
WHO also released new clinical and policy guidelines for health care providers on responding to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women.
The report’s key findings on the health impacts of violence by an intimate partner were:
- Death and injury – The study found that globally, 38% of all women who were murdered were murdered by their intimate partners, and 42% of women who have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of a partner had experienced injuries as a result.
- Depression – Partner violence is a major contributor to women’s mental health problems, with women who have experienced partner violence being almost twice as likely to experience depression compared to women who have not experienced any violence.
- Alcohol use problems – Women experiencing intimate partner violence are almost twice as likely as other women to have alcohol-use problems.
- Sexually transmitted infections – Women who experience physical and/or sexual partner violence are 1.5 times more likely to acquire syphilis infection, chlamydia, or gonorrhoea. In some regions (including sub-Saharan Africa), they are 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV.
- Unwanted pregnancy & abortion – Both partner violence and non-partner sexual violence are associated with unwanted pregnancy; the report found that women experiencing physical and/or sexual partner violence are twice as likely to have an abortion than women who do not experience this violence.
- Low birth-weight babies – Women who experience partner violence have a 16% greater chance of having a low birth-weight baby.
Ending VAW has gained normative support within the UN system over the past two decades, including—
- as part of the CEDAW Committee, General Recommendation No 19 (1992);
- in the 1993 General Assembly Declaration on Ending Violence Against Women;
- the Beijing Platform for Action Critical Area of Concern D;
- the 2006 General Assembly Resolution 61/143 on the intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women;
- various initiatives and reports throughout the UN, including UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict,
- the UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign, and
- the Secretary-General’s In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence Against Women;
- and the recent CSW 2013 agreed conclusions on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.
With the MDGs set to expire in 2015, studies show that the goals have spurred significant progress, but yielded uneven results, including:
- Continuing lack of progress on reducing maternal mortality:
- about 800 women die every day due to childbirth & other pregnancy-related complications
- Persistent gender wage gaps:
- women being paid 10 – 30 % less than men
- Low representation in parliaments:
- 1 in 5 legislators being women
- Vulnerable employment:
- nearly two-thirds of women largely outside the protection of the law in 2011
- Violence against women & girls,:
- 1 in 3 women impacted during their lifetimes.