Nov. 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is an occasion for governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to raise public awareness of violence against women. Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. It is exploitation, sexual violence, honor crimes, forced early marriages, domestic violence and sex trafficking. These and other forms of violence cause untold human suffering and has a profound effect on our communities. With devastating statistics and a desire for change, The United Nations created the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in 2000.
Take a look at these United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) statistics. They are disturbing and are a call to action. Violence against women jeopardizes the progress and prosperity of the world.
- In South Africa, a woman is killed every 6 hours by an intimate partner.
- In Guatemala, two women are murdered, on average, each day.
- Between 40 and 50 percent of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advancements, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at their workplace.
- More than 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18, primarily in South Asia (31.1 million) and sub-Saharan Africa (14.1 million).
As you can see with these alarming statistics, violence against women is an issue around the world. Locally, it is no different. Here are a few statistics to describe the epidemic taking place in our country.
- 83 percent of girls aged 12-16 experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools.
- An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
- As many as 1 in 4 women experience physical and/or sexual violence.
- As many as 2.8 million children run away each year. Within 48 hours of being away from home, one-third of these children are lured or recruited into prostitution and pornography.
- Approximately 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors.
According to the U.S. Department of State, strengthening the prevention of and response to violence against women and girls is of vital importance to the interests and overall foreign policy of the United States. Women are an invaluable source in peace-building and conflict resolution. A woman’s education is linked to increased national income and improved health. Additionally, women are known to drive economic growth. Violence against women prevents them from fully contributing to their communities.
With the statistics listed above and the information given from the U.S. Department of State, we hope that you will observe this day. Every source of awareness and education helps prevent violence in future generations. It is crucial that our children grow up believing in Every Relationship Violence-Free, regardless of whether it is an intimate relationship or not. We all need to respect the women in our lives and appreciate the contribution they have made into making our world a better place.
For more information on this day and on resources on how you or someone you know can get help please visit saynotoviolence.org. Ways to start or join an effort in ending the violence is also available on this site. The U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 is also available to help you or someone you know escape the violence.
Hubbard House is also available to help. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House is a domestic violence center serving Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida. To learn more visit http://www.hubbardhouse.org or http://www.facebook.com/hubbardhouseinc.
ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit http://hubbardhouse.org to learn more.
Written by Dajana Mihaljevic