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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record
Addressing violence against women and girls
25 February 2009 / 04:31

[Dateline: New York | Author:  iSeek]

UNite to End Violence Against Women poster | Credit: Graphic Design/KSD/OD/DPI A year after the launch of the Secretary-General’s campaign, “UNite to End Violence against Women,” the unveiling of a new poster and next month’s International Women’s Day serve as reminders that everyone is called to join forces to fight this global problem.

Violence against women not only constitutes a gross violation of human rights but also has enormous social and economic costs, and undercuts the contribution of women to development, peace and security. 

It also poses a serious threat to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

At the launch of the campaign last year, the Secretary-General acknowledged that “What works in one country may not lead to desired results in another. Each nation must devise its own strategy.  But there is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.”

The new poster is composed of two juxtaposed sets of images.  On the left, in full color, are positive, uplifiting images showing people from all walks of life, representing the SG's call for everyone to unite and bring an end to violence against women.  On the right, faded, are images of women and children affected by violence, which, hopefully, will soon be a thing of the past.

Violence against women

Statistics demonstrate the extent of the problem:

  • Today, many women – in some countries as many as one in three – are beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in their lifetimes.
  • Worldwide, one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.
  • Half of the women who die from homicides are killed by their current or former husbands or partners.
  • For women aged 15 to 44 years, violence is a major cause of death and disability.
  • More than 80 percent of trafficking victims are women.
  • More than 130 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation.
  • On the basis of data collected from 24,000 women in 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who have been physically abused by their partners have never contacted NGOs, shelters or the police for help.

About the campaign

Campaign logo Five key outcomes have been set as the benchmarks which the campaign aims to inspire all countries to achieve by 2015:

  • National laws are in place and enforced to address and punish all forms of violence against women and girls in line with international human rights standards.
  • National plans of action are adopted that are multisectoral and adequately resourced, with implementation under way.
  • Data collection and analysis systems are institutionalized and periodic surveys are undertaken on the prevalence of various forms of violence against women and girls.
  • National and/or local campaigns are launched and social mobilization engages a diverse range of civil society actors in preventing violence and supporting abused women and girls.
  • Sexual violence in conflict situations is systematically addressed in all peace and security policy and funding frameworks and mechanisms for protection and prevention of systematic rape are implemented.

Additional information about International Women’s Day will be posted on iSeek soon.  In the meantime, staff in New York are invited to mark their calendars for a special 9 March event hosted by the Group on Equal Rights for Women in the United Nations (GERWUN) (detailed announcement).

Related online resources

UN Action against Rape and Sexual Violence in Conflict

Say NO to Violence Against Women (UNIFEM)

V-Day Campaign (supported by UNICEF)

16 Days of Activism (supported by UNFPA, UNIFEM, WHO)

WomenWatch–UN Information and Resources on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women

UN Special Advisor on Gender Issues & Advancement of Women