Stopping Violence Against Women
Every single day thousands of women and girls are abused and murdered by their families, raped in armed conflict and attacked for defending women’s human rights. Globally women are persecuted and harassed, denied education, denied the rights to make decisions for and about themselves and they are beaten, raped and sexually assaulted, not just in times of war, but in their everyday lives - going to the toilet, collecting water, walking down the street, in their own homes and often at the hands of those with a duty to protect them.
In 2013 the World Health Organisation reported that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence. New Zealand’s own Women’s Refuge reports that NZ Police are called to 200 domestic violence situations every day. That’s one every 7 minutes right here in New Zealand.
Violence against women is one of the most widespread human rights abuses. No country is immune.
Figures around violence against women are difficult to confirm. Many cases go unreported through fear or shame, in some places if a woman reports an attack she is often painted as the criminal and endures worse abuse.
Women, Poverty and Violence
Human rights are universal but access to claiming those rights is not. Women face barriers in realising their rights and experience distinct types of rights violations, specifically because they are women.
For example: Gender-based discrimination coupled with poverty leads to high rates of maternal death in developing countries and women often don’t have access to health education, healthcare or have the freedom to choose.
Many women live within a vicious circle of violence and poverty. Women living in poverty are much more likely to experience violence and the violence they experience helps to keep them poor. Not only does poverty exacerbate violence it also makes it hard for women to find avenues of escape.
Risking Rape to Reach A Toilet
In 2010 Amnesty released the report ‘Risking Rape to Reach A Toilet: Women’s experiences in the slums of Nairobi’. This report documents testimony from numerous women of the violence they face on a daily basis. One major issue for these women is lack of sanitation. Lack of places to wash and a shortage of toilets heightens the risk of violence towards women and girls as toilets might be located a 10 minute walk from their home or they may have to walk to the river to wash. This is a dangerous journey for women and girls, especially at night.
Lack of sanitation puts millions of women and girls living in slums and informal settlements all over the world at risk of violence every day.
16 Days of Activism
Starting on 25 November, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is a campaign that begins on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and ends on 10 December (Human Rights Day). The campaign raises awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at a local, national and international level. Every year Amnesty supports 16 Days by focusing on a gender violence case.
What can you do?
Keep up with our My Body My Rights Campaign where we will be working to address various issues affecting women including violence.
Report: The Gender Trap: Women Violence and Poverty (pdf)
Checklist: View our Six Point Checklist on Justice for Violence Against Women (pdf)