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05.05.2019 Feature Article

Violence against females is a global epidemic

Violence against females is a global epidemic

“We have an abundance of rape and violence against women in this country and on this Earth, though it's almost never treated as a civil rights or human rights issue, or a crisis, or even a pattern. Violence doesn't have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender,” penned Rebecca Solnit in her book, Men Explain Things to Me.

The Most Dangerous Countries for Women
India, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, Nigeria, and the United States. What did these 10 countries share in common in 2018?

Sexual violence, sexual slavery, forced marriage, human trafficking, and non-sexual violence among other risks (healthcare, access to economic resources, customary practices). That’s according to the 2018 survey from the Thomson Reuters Foundation (195 countries were included) www.reuters.com.

Sexual Violence included rape as a weapon of war; domestic rape; rape by a stranger; the lack of access to justice in rape cases; sexual harassment and coercion into sex as a form of corruption. Non-Sexual Violence included conflict-related violence and forms of domestic physical and mental abuse.

“The only Western nation in the top 10 and joint third with Syria for the risks women face in terms of sexual violence, including rape, sexual harassment, coercion into sex and a lack of access to justice in rape cases. The survey came after the #MeToo campaign went viral last year, with thousands of women using the social media movement to share stories of sexual harassment or abuse,” according to the foundation.

India was named as the most dangerous country for women in the 2018 survey. “Violence against women in India has caused national and international outrage and protests since the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a student on a bus in New Delhi.” www.poll2018.trust.org/.

Nigeria was named the fourth most dangerous country along with Russia when it came to human trafficking.

In 2011, a survey from the same foundation identified the five most dangerous countries for women: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia.

According to the 2019 Global Study on Homicide (gender-related killing of women and girls), it is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, more than half were killed by intimate partners or family members, meaning that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day.

“If we are to fight discrimination and injustice against women we must start from the home for if a woman cannot be safe in her own house then she cannot be expected to feel safe anywhere,” proclaimed Aysha Taryam.

A global study from the United Nations Population Fund revealed that girls and young women with disabilities face up to 10 times more gender-based violence than those without disabilities. Girls with intellectual disabilities are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence. www.unfpa.org.

From Pakistan to the US, it is still very difficult for military women to speak of sexual assault and seek justice,” according to a 2018 article at www.aljazeera.com. “Countries like the US, France, UK, Israel and Canada have made some efforts to reform reporting and response mechanisms for sexual violence crimes to ensure protection for the victims and a higher likelihood for the perpetrators to be held accountable. None of these efforts has been enough, however.”

Global Resources
Rape is a global epidemic and laws are failing women and girls. Call on governments and policymakers to fix laws on sexual violence and to ensure justice for survivors of sexual violence. www.equalitynow.org.

Womankind Worldwide is a global women’s rights organization working in solidarity and equal partnership with women’s rights organizations and movements to transform the lives of women. Current focus countries include Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Uganda and Zimbabwe. www.womankind.org.uk.

Girls Get Equal is a global campaign demanding power, freedom and respect for girls and young women. “I pledge to help build a world where girls are equally seen, heard and valued.” www.plan-international.org.

“There are two kinds of males - men who stand up for women’s rights and cowards. The choice is yours.” ―Abaida Mahmood

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in US.

Melissa Martin
Melissa Martin, © 2019

This author has authored 48 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: MelissaMartin

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