Violence against women: the world's most widespread and unpunished crime

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Violence against women: the world's most widespread and unpunished crime

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Violence Against Women: A Global Pandemic or visit
Friday, November 27, 2009 - 1:00am

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) New York, NY - November 27, 2009 - It has been estimated that at least one in every three women around the globe “has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.” This violence occurs with impunity and transcends geography, race, class or religious orientation. United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) states in their publication Not A Minute More: Ending Violence Against Women (NY, 2003) that violence against women “may constitute one of the most universal and unpunished crimes of all.” 

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the watershed Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, in which violence was defined as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life” (Office of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, OHCHR).
The pervasive and widespread pandemic of violence against females requires greater consideration than ever as tens of millions of women and girls are being abused daily. Take a closer look at some of the issues facing women today:
Sex-selective abortions, the killing of babies born female – female infanticide – and fetal neglect have caused clear and shocking disproportions between the sexes. It is estimated that there are between 50 million to 100 million less females on the planet due to sex-selected discrimination and infanticide.
Of the 2 million children being indentured into sexual servitude, it is estimated that 80 to 90% of them are girls (International Labor Organization, 2000).
The majority of all incest victims are girls and it is estimated that up to three times more girls are likely to experience sexual abuse than boys during their childhood.
It is estimated that between 100 million to 140 million girls have undergone some form of genital mutilation.
The United Nations estimated that an average of five women are killed per day in India by “accidental” fires set by husbands or in-laws whose demands for full payment of the wife’s dowry have not been met.
Honor Killings,” executions of women by family members who feel she has in some way dishonored them. These killings oftentimes occur with little or no consequence.
War rape, used as a systematic weapon, has shattered the lives of millions of women.
Women form the majority of the world’s poor. Seventy percent of people living in poverty – those surviving on less than $1.00 a day – are women (Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces).
Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate people are women.
Women own a mere one percent of the world’s land.
It is important to understand that violence against women does not just happen in other parts of the world. The United States Surgeon General has stated that violence against women by their intimate partner “poses the single greatest threat to all American women” (UNDP).
In the USA alone, there were 700,000 women raped in 2008. You would think there was a war against women based on these statistics alone.
In the United States, 24% of women who marry will experience physical abuse by their intimate partner.
On the most basic and fundamental level, in the United States, women get paid 25% less for the very same work done by a man.
Women only account for 17% of congressional seats, and only 8 of the 50 state governorships.
The preamble of the Declaration states that “violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared to men” (OHCHR). In exploring why this is, it states that “violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women” (OHCHR).
The conclusion of the World Economic Forum’s study on the global gender gap states the problem clearly: “The reality is that no country in the world, no matter how advanced has achieved true gender equality, as measured by comparable decision making power, equal opportunity for education and advancement, and equal participation and status in all walks of human endeavor” (Lopez-Claros and Zahidi, 2005).
In conclusion, the World Health Organization has stated that “something that greatly encourages violence – and is a formidable obstacle in responding to it – is complacency.” In the Greater Mekong region, where treaties have been signed between governments to end human trafficking, relatively little is done to enforce these laws because human trafficking is viewed as a “soft crime” as no one is killed. It is this type of complacency that does, and continues to, reinforce violent attitudes towards women.
PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics wants to share this information with you to continue a dialogue on how to rewrite history in a way that eliminates the dominance of any one group of individuals. Founder Jody R. Weiss describes this new paradigm as neither a patriarchy nor a matriarchy where gender is a determining ruling factor, but rather a system formed by a “collaborative interconnectivity.”
Until Collaborative Interconnection can truly be realized between men and women, the way to raise a woman out of poverty and abuse is to give her an economic option and a sustainable trade. This is why PeaceKeeper buys raw ingredients from third-world women’s cooperatives and offers micro-credit loans to women farmers (who produce between 60 and 80% of food supplies in developing countries). When a woman can sustain herself, she is opening up options that will enable her to beat the odds. Additionally, PeaceKeeper has made mini-sized make-up samples for women to sell as an economic option in their village, setting them free to direct their own future.
Finally, it has never been more evident that women of privilege have a unique opportunity to speak on behalf of women and children who have no voice for themselves. PeaceKeeper is inviting women of means to use a greater consciousness when buying consumables. How was the product manufactured? Is a woman being exploited in labor servitude in order for us to have that product? Women of wealth can use their buying power to either endorse products that sustain the planet or boycott products that don’t. This small act could actually have a monumental impact on the lives of women. As an example, if women of privilege stopped traveling to countries that signed a treaty to stop human trafficking but meanwhile refuse to enforce it, those countries might start to think differently about how they uphold this law in the face of losing tourism dollars.
In closing, the pandemic of violence against women and girls cannot and must not be ignored. it is a moral imperative that will define the future of our planet for generations to come. Many of the facts listed in this article were from a book by the United Nation's OCHA called Broken Bodies, Broken Dreams - Violence Against Women Exposed. To learn more about this and other OCHA publications visit To make a donation to PeaceKeeper Fund which gives micro-credit loans to support women in a sustainable trade visit their website at


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