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Issue #1582      February 20, 2013

Statement

Escalating violence against women

The Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet has expressed deep concern over escalating violence against women:

In the days following the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, I note with great concern the escalation of violence and alarming reports of rising violence against women in public spaces.

Two years ago, the world witnessed Egyptian women and men in Tahrir square and across Egypt calling for change and exercising their political and civil rights to public assembly and expression. As a vibrant force in civil society, women continue to press for their rights, equal participation in decision making, and the upholding of the principles of the revolution by the highest levels of leadership in Egypt. UN Women is deeply disturbed by the gravity of recent attacks against women, including the reports of sexual assault, many of which occurred in the same Tahrir Square in which women rallied to contribute to a better future for their country.

UN Women calls upon the government and people of Egypt to take a firm stand against all forms of violence against women and girls, and to promote human rights for all, including the rights of women to live free of violence and discrimination and to participate fully in social, economic and political life. This necessitates commitment at the highest level of leadership in Egypt to put in place the legislation and mechanisms that ensure the protection of women and their ability to exercise their rights.

Global

The statistics are shocking – between 15 to 75% of women in every community suffer from some sort of violence. Up to 70% of these violent acts are perpetrated by intimate partners. Two women are murdered every day in Guatemala, on average; in India, there are many thousands of dowry-related deaths every year; in so-called developed nations such as the USA, Canada and Israel, 40 to 70% of women were murdered by intimate partners; on a worldwide basis, 50% of sexual assaults are committed against children under 16; up to 150 million women and girls suffer some kind of violence yearly; 30% of first sexual experiences are rapes or attempted rapes.

Three million girls a year in Africa are submitted to female genital mutilation; 100 to 140 million women and girls live with the scars of this practice; 60 million children a year are forced to make commitments in marriage ceremonies; 80% of human trafficking is committed against women and girls; 79% of these, or 632,000 women and girls a year, are trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation. 379,200 women and girls are subjected to conditions of sexual slavery every year.

In parts of Europe, between 40 and 50% of women are subjected to unwanted sexual advances; in Asia, up to half the women suffer sexual harassment at work.   

Next article – Culture & Life – Selling war and selling justice

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