In today’s world, violence against women stands as a pervasive and alarming epidemic. Shocking statistics from the World Health Organization reveal that approximately 1 in 3 women worldwide has experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. The forms of violence against women are diverse and insidious. UN Women reporting that around 48,800 women and girls worldwide were killed by their intimate partners or other family members in 2022 – an average of more than 133 lives lost every day. Furthermore, human trafficking, primarily in the form of sexual exploitation, affects 71% of all victims globally, emphasizing the extent of economic exploitation. This violence manifests throughout various life stages, leaving lasting scars. The UN Population Fund notes that more than 142 million females are considered “missing” today due to female infanticide and prenatal sex selection. Disturbingly, UNICEF estimates that approximately 12 million girls under the age of 18 are married every year, exposing them to the risks of child marriage, particularly in conflict-affected countries.
Silence often mask the violence against women, but there is progress. As of October 2021, 144 countries have laws to protect victims of domestic violence and punish perpetrators, a significant increase from 2006. Yet, the battle continues, and education emerges as a powerful tool in dismantling the roots of gender-based violence. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics reports that despite progress, 118.5 million girls are out of school, and women make up two-thirds of adults without basic literacy skills. Advocacy, both on a grassroots and global scale, is instrumental in holding perpetrators accountable and shaping policies that protect women.
As we reflect on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, it is imperative to recognize that the fight against this menace is ongoing. Governments, communities, and individuals must collaborate to implement concrete measures that challenge stereotypes, enforce laws protecting women, and provide support for survivors. Promoting awareness through education, fostering a culture of respect and equality, and encouraging community involvement in addressing the issue are key measures to prevent violence against women. Envisioning a world free from violence against women requires unwavering collective commitment.
Through education, advocacy, and steadfast dedication to equality, we can dismantle the structures perpetuating violence and create a society where every woman can live with dignity, respect, and free from the chains of fear.