Day 1 – November 25th – International day of Elimination of Violence against Women

What about violence against women and girls?

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread human rights violations in the world. It is deeply rooted in gender discrimination and inequality. No woman or girl is entirely free of its risk, and no country goes unharmed by its impact.

Violence against women and girls, also known as gender based violence, is internationally recognized as human rights issue. Until recently, gender based violence was treated as a private or a family problem. But nowadays, it is generally accepted that gender based violence is a social and public health concern which penetrates in all spheres of a society. Women are subjected to discrimination and violence in many areas of life; in communities, in schools, at work, at homes…etc. It is apparent that women have fewer opportunities when seeking a job, that they constitute larger percentage on unemployed force, and therefore more susceptible and vulnerable to discriminations, violence, human trafficking, sexual abuse and/or coercion.

The United Nations General Assembly defines “violence against women” as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) recognizes that “violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which has led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women. UN and Council of Europe have expressed concerns that certain groups of women are more susceptible to GBV, especially those belonging to minorities and refugees group, as well as those in poverty. Youth is also a crucial group when it comes to gender based violence. There are parallels between gender based violence in relationships among adolescents and adult relationships, because of the continuity violence tends to spiral out of control, from verbal and emotional abuse, to sexual abuse and murder.

We must work together on prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. It is important to know what constitutes as gender based violence and domestic violence, how to recognize it, who are the most vulnerable groups, what are some of the root causes, as well as what programs are available to help those in need and how these programs could be improved.

It is a duty and obligation of each of us to stand up against gender based violence