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In the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon, “Violence against women continues to persist as one of the most heinous, systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the world. It is a threat to all women, and an obstacle to all our efforts for development, peace, and gender equality in all societies.”

In fact, violence kills more women between the ages of 15 and 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined.

The recent 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, kicked off November 25 on the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, served to confront this global pandemic. Here are ten of countless statistics that illustrate the importance of such, and continued, efforts.

1. In the 24 developing countries studied in a recent survey, a combined total of only 7% of survivors of gender-based violence, including physical and sexual acts, formally reported their attacks to police, medical or social services.

2. In India, less than 1% of survivors reported gender-based violence to formal sources. The highest rate of reporting uncovered in the survey was in Colombia where 26% of women formally reported the violence they faced. This still means that three out of four Colombian women never report the violence they’ve faced.

3. In the same 24 developing countries, the surveyors explored whether women told their friends, family members or neighbors about their attacks and found that the rates of this “informal reporting” ranged from 15% in Honduras to 60% in Ukraine. Thus, in most of the countries, the majority of women told no one of their attacks.

4. In Papua New Guinea, 59.1% of men admit to forcing an unwilling intimate partner into having sex. Forty percent of men admit to having raped a stranger.

5. According to the UN, there were 15,654 cases of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2012. However, the country is noted to chronically underreport gender-based violence figures. A study published by the American Journal of Public Health found that more than 1,100 women were raped every day in 2006 and that more than 400,000 women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 were raped within a 12-month time frame.

6. A third of all survivors of sexual violence in the DRC are between the ages of 12 and 17. Reports from the UN indicate that 82% of all survivors had not finished primary school.

7. A study by Johns Hopkins that surveyed women across 25 African countries found that a high proportion of women believed that wife-beating was justified in at least one of five different hypothetical scenarios. The percentage of women who adhered to this view ranged from 18 in Swaziland to 87 in Guinea.

8. A South African women is killed by an intimate partner every 6 hours.

9. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women throughout the world have experienced female genital mutilation. More than three million African girls face the risk of the practice every year.

10. Eighty percent of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked annually are women and girls. Seventy-nine percent of them are trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Kelley Calkins

Sources: End Violence Against Women, UNFP, Al Jazeera, UN News Center, NCBI, Say No to Violence, Women Under Seige
Photo: Gabriela USA