Today is being observed as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW). Women’s activists have marked November 25 as a day against violence since 1981, marking the date of the brutal assassination in 1960, of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of dictator Rafael Trujillo. The date was designated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on December 17, 1999 by a United Nations General Assembly resolution. The resolution called on governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day.
The UN notes that violence against women is a human rights violation and it continues to be a global pandemic. It is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women. The impacts are far-reaching, as it impedes progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security. Violence against women and girls is not inevitable; prevention is possible and essential.
World Health Organization (WHO) Fact Sheet
- Violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women – are major public health problems and violations of women’s human rights.
- Recent global prevalence figures indicate that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
- On average, 30 per cent of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner.
- Globally, as many as 38 per cent of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.
- Violence can result in physical, mental, sexual, reproductive health and other health problems, and may increase vulnerability to HIV.
- Risk factors for being a perpetrator include low education, exposure to child maltreatment or witnessing violence in the family, harmful use of alcohol, attitudes accepting of violence and gender inequality.
- Risk factors for being a victim of intimate partner and sexual violence include low education, witnessing violence between parents, exposure to abuse during childhood and attitudes accepting violence and gender inequality.
- In high-income settings, school-based programmes to prevent relationship violence among young people (or dating violence) are supported by some evidence of effectiveness.
- In low-income settings, other primary prevention strategies, such as microfinance combined with gender equality training and community-based initiatives that address gender inequality and communication and relationship skills, hold promise.
- Situations of conflict, post conflict and displacement may exacerbate existing violence and present additional forms of violence against women.
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Locally, the Bureau of Women’s Affairs will today launch a three-month social media campaign aimed at providing a platform for advocacy and collaboration around the issue of gender-based violence, particularly as it affects women and girls. The Bureau is one of the local organizations committed to aiding the development and advancement of women in Jamaica.