Resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking
by UN Women, agencies
4:24pm 19th Nov, 2016
Violence against women is a human rights violation. Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women.
Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security.
Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential. Yet violence against women continues to be a global pandemic.
One of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is the substantial funding shortfall. As a result, resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking.
International frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a specific target on ending violence against women and girls, offer real promise, but must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls.
From 25 November through 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence aims to raise public awareness and mobilize people everywhere to bring about change.
Despite growing recognition that the pandemic of violence against women is a gross human rights violation and a serious obstacle to development, concrete efforts on preventing and ending violence against women and girls continue to be a low priority on the international development agenda, with inadequate funding.
Achieving the internationally agreed targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, which emphasize ending violence against women and girls as a core objective, demands innovative solutions and the forging of new partnerships to mobilize funds from all available sources—including national governments, overseas development agencies, private sector, philanthropic bodies and individuals.
“Women and girls who experience violence have their rights trampled on, they live in fear and pain, and in the worst cases they pay with their lives. Yet, still in many countries, the laws and services are inadequate, or unavailable, and the criminal justice system is remote, expensive and biased in favour of the male perpetrators”, said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
“Change to these elements has a cost, yet the price of no change is unacceptable. Even relatively small-scale investments that are timely and well targeted can bring enormous benefits to women and girls and to their wider communities”.
“The extent to which violence is embedded in society means that uprooting it is also a job for all of society. That includes men and women, the media and the religious community. We can work together to address the inequality and prejudice that enable and enflame violence against women and girls,” says Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Of all women who were victims of homicide globally in 2012, almost half were killed by intimate partners or family members. Not only does violence against women and girls have negative consequences for those who experience it, but also their families, the community and society at large. Available evidence shows the immense cost of violence against women and girls on many levels, with significant threats to the household’s economic welfare both in the short and longer term.
A recent study estimated that the cost of intimate-partner violence accounting in 2013 may be as high as 5.2 per cent of the global economy. Evidence also illustrates how even relatively small-scale investments that are timely and well targeted can bring enormous benefits to women and girls and to their wider communities.
A recent multi-country study in Southeast Asia found that the cost of delivering a minimum package of essential services (over three fiscal years) for women and girls who experience violence amounted to 0.31 per cent of GDP (in 2015) for Timor-Leste and 0.25 per cent of GDP (in 2015) for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic a fraction of the cost of the consequences of violence.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon''s Message
At long last, there is growing global recognition that violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, a public health pandemic and a serious obstacle to sustainable development. Yet there is still much more we can and must do to turn this awareness into meaningful prevention and response.
Violence against women and girls imposes large-scale costs on families, communities and economies. When women cannot work as a result of violence, their employment may be put at risk, jeopardizing much-needed income, autonomy and their ability to leave abusive relationships. Violence against women also results in lost productivity for businesses, and drains resources from social services, the justice system and health-care agencies.
Domestic and intimate partner violence remains widespread, compounded by impunity for those crimes. The net result is enormous suffering as well as the exclusion of women from playing their full and rightful roles in society.
The world cannot afford to pay this price. Women and girls cannot afford it – and should not have to. Yet such violence persists every day, around the world. And efforts to address this challenge, although rich in political commitment, are chronically under-funded.
I call on governments to show their commitment by dramatically increasing national spending in all relevant areas, including in support of women’s movements and civil society organizations. I also encourage world leaders to contribute to UN Women and to the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. We look as well to the private sector, philanthropies and concerned citizens to do their part.
Today, we are seeing the world lit up in orange, symbolizing a brighter future for women and girls. With dedicated investment, we can keep these lights shining, uphold human rights and commit to actions to eliminate violence against women and girls for good.
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