Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime. In the developing world, 1 in 7 girls is married before her 15th birthday. And between 1998 and 2008 alone, sexual violence against men was noted in reports on 25 conflict-affected countries.
Gender-based violence threatens lives, halts progress, and undermines societies. It is a global phenomenon preventing people, especially women and girls, of their right to a life free from violence.
If women are not healthy and safe, they cannot care for themselves, support their families, or contribute to their communities. From kidnappings to shootings, from acid attacks to poisoning, and from discrimination to intimidation, women and girls around the world are being threatened, harassed, attacked and killed. It has to stop.
“Respond only, and you’ll be responding forever. Prevent only, and you ignore the survivor in front of you.”
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a human rights violation, a public health challenge, and a barrier to civic, social, political, and economic participation. It undermines not only the safety, dignity, overall health status, and human rights of the millions of individuals who experience it, but also the public health, economic stability, and security of nations.
Gender-based violence cuts across ethnicity, race, class, religion, education level, and international borders. An estimated one in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Although statistics on the prevalence of violence vary, the scale is tremendous, the scope is vast, and the consequences for individuals, families, communities, and countries are devastating.
It is vital to promote the rights of all individuals and reduce gender-based violence while mitigating its harmful effects on individuals and communities. Unless women, girls, men, and boys fully enjoy their human rights and are free from violence, progress toward development will fall short.
We all must:
- Increase awareness of the scope of the problem and its impact
- Improve services for survivors of violence
- Strengthen prevention efforts