Gender inequality is both the cause and the consequence of violence against women and girls, said Oxfam on Thursday, as the agency launched a new global campaign called ‘Enough: Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls’ to stop one of the most prolific human rights violations.
According to the agency, a third of women will experience violence at some point in their life and violence against women and girls knows no boundaries of geography or culture – it is a global crisis.
However, marginalized women, including poor women and girls, are the most vulnerable to violence.
Women and girls face violence throughout their lives: more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation – with the majority of girls being cut before the age of five – and 30 percent of women will experience intimate partner violence.
Studies have found higher rates of violence among women experiencing multiple discriminations, including indigenous women, lesbian and bisexual women, and women with disabilities.
“At every minute of every day, violence is devastating the lives of millions of women and girls around the world,” said Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International’s Executive Director. “Violence keeps women and girls living in poverty, and women and girls living in poverty are the most exposed to violence. From child marriage to female genital mutilation to murder, violence against women and girls is deep rooted across the world. It is a vicious circle, but it can be broken as what has been learned can be unlearned. Enough is enough.”
To end these devastating practices against half the world’s population, Oxfam has kick-started campaigns in Morocco, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Guatemala, South Africa and Zambia to coincide with the UN designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
More than 30 countries will join Oxfam’s campaign over time, mobilizing citizens and decision-makers to challenge the discrimination that drives this abuse against women and girls.
Photo credit: Oxfam