Breaking the Chains: Uniting Against Violence on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

pexels-alycia-fungNov 25: Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread and persistent human rights violations in the world. It affects women of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures, and has devastating consequences for their health, well-being, and dignity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about one in three (30%) women globally experience physical and/or sexual violence, mostly at the hands of an intimate partner. Such violence can start early in life, as almost one in four (24%) adolescent girls aged 15-19 who have had an intimate relationship have experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner.

Violence against women is not only a violation of their rights, but also a public health problem that undermines their physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health. It can lead to injuries, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and even death. Moreover, violence against women has negative impacts on their families, communities, and societies, as it hinders their participation in education, employment, and civic life.

The United Nations (UN) has recognized the elimination of violence against women as a priority for achieving gender equality and sustainable development. In 1993, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, which defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”. In 2000, the UN designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to raise awareness and mobilize action to end this global scourge.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women also marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which runs until December 10, the International Human Rights Day. The campaign aims to amplify the voices of survivors and activists and to call for increased investment in prevention and response to violence against women and girls. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls”, which highlights the need for more resources and commitment from governments and other stakeholders to address the root causes and drivers of gender-based violence.

Ending violence against women is possible, but it requires collective action and accountability from all sectors of society. We can all play a role in preventing and responding to violence against women by raising awareness, challenging harmful norms and stereotypes, supporting survivors, advocating for policies and laws that protect women’s rights, and holding perpetrators accountable. Together, we can create a world where women and girls live free from fear and violence.

Sujata Muguda
Shreyas WebMedia Solutions