Vocapedia > Women >
Violence against women worldwide
According to officials in Armenia,
Maro Guloyan committed suicide
by hanging herself
with the belt from her dressing gown,
although the marks on her neck
were inconsistent with hanging.
Family members say Maro
had been constantly subjected to violence
by her husband.
Here, Maro’s twin brother
held Maro in his arms.
To the left,
Maro’s mother held her hands on the coffin.
Credit Anahit Hayrapetyan/4plus
Domestic Violence in Armenia:
Covering the Crimes That Go
Armenia > Domestic
U.N. Finds ‘Alarmingly High’ Levels
of Violence Against Women
MARCH 9, 2015
The New York Times
By SOMINI SENGUPTA
UNITED NATIONS — The evidence is ubiquitous. The gang rape of a
young woman on a bus in New Delhi sets off an unusual burst of national outrage
in India. In South Sudan, women are assaulted by both sides in the civil war. In
Iraq, jihadists enslave women for sex. And American colleges face mounting
scrutiny about campus rape.
Despite the many gains women have made in education, health and even political
power in the course of a generation, violence against women and girls worldwide
“persists at alarmingly high levels,” according to a United Nations analysis
that the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to present to the General
Assembly on Monday.
About 35 percent of women worldwide — more than one in three — said they had
experienced violence in their lifetime, whether physical, sexual, or both, the
report finds. One in 10 girls under the age of 18 was forced to have sex, it
The subject is under sharp focus as delegates from around the world gather here
starting on Monday to assess how well governments have done since they promised
to ensure women’s equality at a landmark conference in Beijing 20 years ago —
and what to do next.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, who attended the Beijing conference in 1995, is
scheduled to speak on Tuesday.
Since the Beijing conference, there has been measurable, though mixed, progress
on many fronts, according to the United Nations analysis.
As many girls as boys are now enrolled in primary school, a sharp advance since
1995. Maternal mortality rates have fallen by half. And women are more likely to
be in the labor force, though the pay gap is closing so slowly that it will take
another 75 years before women and men are paid equally for equal work.
The share of women serving in legislatures has nearly doubled, too, though women
still account for only one in five legislators. All but 32 countries have
adopted laws that guarantee gender equality in their constitutions.
But violence against women — including rape, murder and sexual harassment —
remains stubbornly high in countries rich and poor, at war and at peace. The
United Nations’ main health agency, the World Health Organization, found that 38
percent of women who are murdered are killed by their partners.
Even as women’s groups continue to push for laws that criminalize violence —
marital rape is still permitted in many countries — new types of attacks have
emerged, some of them online, including rape threats on Twitter.
Where there are laws on the books, like ones that criminalize domestic violence,
for instance, they are not reliably enforced.
The economic impact is huge. One recent study found that domestic violence
against women and children alone costs the global economy $4 trillion.
“Over all, as you look at the world, there have been no large victories in
eradicating violence against women,” said Valerie M. Hudson, a professor of
politics at Texas A & M University who has developed world maps that chart the
status of women. The vast majority of countries, by her metrics, do not have
laws that protect women’s physical safety.
In some cases, the laws on the books are the problem, women’s rights advocates
say. In some countries, like Nigeria, the law permits a man to beat his wife
under certain circumstances. But even when laws are technically adequate,
victims often do not feel comfortable going to law enforcement, or they are
unable to pay the bribes required to file a police report.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the executive director of the United Nations agency for
gender equity and women’s empowerment — known as UN Women — said that for the
laws to mean anything, governments around the world have to persuade their
police officers, judges and medical personnel to take violence against women
“I am disappointed, I have to be honest,” she said about the stubborn hold of
violence against women. “More than asking for more laws to be passed, I’m asking
According to Equality Now, an advocacy group that tracks laws pertaining to
women, 125 countries specifically criminalize domestic violence. But so-called
wife-obedience laws still remain in some places. In some others, rapists can get
off the hook by marrying those they assault.
Yasmeen Hassan, the group’s executive director, said that governments need to be
reminded that they committed to making their laws fair for women. Cultural
differences cannot be an excuse, she said. “It’s always a cop-out for
governments to not do what they signed up to do,” she said.
The new round of global development targets that governments around the world
will have to agree to later this year, known as Sustainable Development Goals,
includes a separate requirement for women’s equal rights, including how they
protect their female citizens from violence.
The latest United Nations report draws attention to the rise of “extremism and
conservatism,” and without naming any countries or groups, it argues that what
they share is a “resistance to women’s human rights.” The assaults and
abductions by the Islamic State have brought new urgency to the issue.
Ms. Hudson, the academic, said the persistence of violence in so many forms is
in part because it can establish domination against women of all kinds, for a
broad range of personal and political purposes. A husband can just as easily
beat his wife if she is a high school dropout or a college graduate. An entire
territory can be claimed if fighters rape the local women — or take them as sex
slaves, as is the case of the Islamic State.
“I think violence against women is so darn useful,” she said. “That’s why it’ll
be so hard to eradicate.”
Violence can start before birth. Sex-selective abortions, have been reduced in
some countries, as in South Korea, but are higher than ever in other places,
like India, and are going up sharply in places like Armenia.
Harassment is commonplace. In the United States, 83 percent of girls aged 12 to
16 said they had experienced some form of harassment in public schools. In New
Delhi, a 2010 study found that two out of three women said they were harassed
more than twice in the last year alone.
Violence against women is often unreported. For instance, a study conducted in
the 28 countries of the European Union found that only 14 percent of women
reported their most serious episode of domestic violence to the police.
”Violence against women has epidemic proportions, and is present in every
single country around the world,” said Lydia Alpizar, executive director of the
Association for Women’s Rights in Development, a global feminist group. “Yet it
is still not a real priority for most governments.”
Perhaps the biggest change in 20 years, say those who attended the 1995 Beijing
conference, is that the subject is now front and center in public discussion.
“There is actually a great deal more attention being paid today to violence
against women,” said Charlotte Bunch, a feminist scholar who attended the
Beijing conference. “The truth is, it’s a complex issue that isn’t solved
U.N. Finds ‘Alarmingly High’ Levels of Violence Against Women,
MARCH 9, 2015,
Related > Anglonautes >
violence against women worldwide
men, women, gender, feminism,
violence against women worldwide,
sex, gay rights, love, marriage, divorce, family
Related > Anglonautes > History
> Early 20th century > Suffragettes
Related > Anglonautes > Arts > Books, Writers
Ayaan Hirsi Ali