International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Begins 16 Days of Activism
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Today is the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. During the just-over-a-fortnight, which culminates on 10th December with International Human Rights Day, events will stretch from a march against violence against women in Armenia, to the screening of UN documentaries in Geneva, to rallies in Kolkata/Auckland/Paris, to talks from police chiefs and women’s campaigners at the University of Worcester in the UK. This year, the theme is ‘safe public spaces for women and girls.’ Throughout every month of 2013 (last year UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named 25th of every month ‘Orange Day’, in a call for anti-violence activities to be held monthly rather than once a year) this approach has taken on specific sub-themes: safe work places (April), safe homes (May), state custody and care as safe spaces (June), cyberspace (July) and safe schools (October). In August, the theme was ‘Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict.’ Here are some statistics, just in case you think that violence against women isn’t an issue that needs its own day, or its own 16 days, or to take up every 25th day of the month... or that the shouty women need to shut up and be satisfied with their lot (they’re not going to, so you might as well listen):
- 70% of women experience violence in their lifetime
- 500,000 to two million people are trafficked every year (into prostitution, forced labour, slavery, etc) and 80% of these are women and girls
- An estimated 130 million girls and women alive today have undergone Female Genital Mutilation
- In the USA, ‘intimate partner violence’ costs the country more than $5.8 billion every year
- 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime
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