Kolkata: The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, marked every year on November 25, is a global advocacy effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women.
Women worldwide continue to face unacceptable levels of violence.
WHO estimates that nearly 1 in 3 women worldwide has experienced physical and/or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. The COVID-19 pandemic has further contributed to increased risks of violence, particularly domestic violence against women.
From November 25 to December 10, during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, WHO and partners will be raising awareness about the global need to prevent and respond to violence against women, and provide support to survivors.
Violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence – is a major public and clinical health problem and a violation of women’s human rights. It is rooted in and perpetuates gender inequalities.
The United Nations 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.”
Intimate partner violence refers to behaviour by an intimate partner or ex-partner that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviours.
Sexual violence is “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, or other act directed against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting. It includes rape, defined as the physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration of the vulva or anus with a penis, other body part or object.”
Violence against women is a global problem of pandemic proportions. It causes devastating, harm to women’s lives and that of their children. It also hurts the economic and social health of their families, communities, and countries.
While some women are more at risk than others, violence can happen to any woman, in any country – regardless of culture, religion or economic status. Gender inequality including harmful gender norms are key drivers of violence against women.