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Violence against women has reached a worrying scale around the world. According to a group of negligent security attorneys at Steinlaw, quoting a recent Forbes article, all around the world, at least one female is killed every 11 minutes (5 girls or women killed every hour). Anyone can experience violence. However, girls and women are particularly susceptible. Groups of women most vulnerable to gender-based violence include younger girls and older women. Women may also be targeted based on their ethnic group, religion, disability and much more. The report further says that no country in the world is close to eradicating gender-based violence.

While the world celebrates International Women's Day in March, it is essential to note that all over the world, over 700 million females have suffered through some sexual and physical abuse, at least once in the course of their lifetime. Examples of this type of violence include spousal and intimate partner violence, psychological abuse, marital rape, battering and murder. It also includes forms of sexual violence such as child sexual abuse, forced sex acts, rape, unwanted sexual advances, stalking, forced marriage, and sexual harassment. Other forms of violence against women that occur every day include female gender mutilation, human trafficking, child marriage, slavery and other forms of exploitation. 

One fundamental way to combat violence against girls and women is by placing a lot of focus on prevention. However, a lot of countries neglect this critical aspect. Most of the time, countries only offer predominantly reactive approaches to cases of violence against women instead of being proactive. Violence against girls and women remains one of the most persistent and prevailing human rights problems globally, yet a lot of focus is placed on it globally. The highest number of victims is reported in Asia. Africa also reports a large number of victims. Gender-based violence is also experienced online at alarming rates.

The United Nations has actively outlined specific steps to take to reduce the rate of violence against women in society. Some of these steps include: 

  • Listen to stories of women who have survived violence, supporting and believing them.
  • Start as early as possible to hold meaningful conversations with the younger generation about female body autonomy, consent, and accountability.
  • Build essential support services for survivors, such as counselling, helplines and shelters.
  • Teach boys to be accountable
  • Learn about the forms of abuse to know how to recognize them
  • Have conversations about violence against women
  • Dismantle the rape culture
  • Support women's organizations financially
  • Call out violence when you see it
  • Collect relevant data on the topic to further understand the problem

The United Nations has designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. On this date, attention is brought to the problem of violence against girls and women and ways to fight it. In December 2023, the UN held a 16-day activism against gender-based violence. At this time, world citizens, activists, and decision-makers were called upon to support survivors. 


Even more worrying is the UN report stating that about 47,000 of these victims of violence against girls and women were killed by family members. 

The soaring numbers have been attributed to issues such as Covid-19, wars and conflicts, and climate change. The number of victims is said to have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The international rescue organization has identified some of the causes of gender-based violence to include the following:

  1. Poverty: Harmful practices, such as early marriage, are most found among low-income families. The families have been known to marry off their little girls in exchange for income. Sometimes, girls are given off in marriage as young as 8 and 9 years old.
  2. Breakdown of community support: When close social supports are broken down, females sometimes have to travel long distances, which increases their chances of getting assaulted.
  3. Wars and conflicts: Soldiers have been known to subject women in conquered territories to rape, forced marriage, forced pregnancies and abortions and worse.
  4.  Stress in the household: Incidents of violence happen more often when the family is facing stress and is unable to meet their daily needs.
  5. Displacement: Women who are displaced to refugee camps may face cases of violence due to having to share facilities with men in rooms and bathrooms with no locks.

The effects of gender-based violence are long-lasting and leave unimaginable emotional damage. It may also lead to unwanted pregnancies, complicated pregnancies, and life-threatening sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, forced abortions, social stigma and ostracization.