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UN Women: ending violence against women and girls


UN Women, 25 November, UNiTE, UN campaign, !6 Days of Action, End Violence Against Women and GirlsEnding violence against women and girls is possible.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a global campaign running from 25 November to 10 December, is taking place this year against the backdrop of an unprecedented global outcry.

Millions have rallied behind the hashtag #MeToo and other campaigns, exposing the sheer magnitude of sexual harassment and other forms of violence that women everywhere suffer, every day.

Breaking the silence is the first step to transforming the culture of gender-based violence.

At the heart of UNWomen’s theme this year, “Leave No One Behind – End Violence against Women”, for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November and the UNiTE campaign’s observance of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women from 25 November – 10 December, is the imperative to support those who are particularly vulnerable.

One in three women and girls experience violence in their lifetime – and that is one too many.

It happens in every country and every society.

It happens at home, in schools, on the streets, at work, on the internet and in refugee camps.

It happens during war, and even in the absence of war.

Too often, it is normalised and goes unpunished.

No matter where violence against women happens, what form it takes, and whom it impacts, it must be stopped.

The promise of the Sustainable Development Goals – to leave no one behind – cannot be fulfilled without ending violence against women.

Ending violence against women and girls is possible.

There are proven solutions for supporting and empowering survivors to stop the reoccurrence of this violence.

Laws and policies are powerful tools to punish perpetrators, provide justice and services, and end impunity.

There are many ways that we can resist and prevent violent norms, attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence against women, and everyone has a role in it.

While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable – for instance, young girls and older women, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those in humanitarian crises.

Click here to see stories from around the world that show what it means to leave no one behind, and what people are doing to stop the cycle of violence against women.

The UNiTE Campaign is calling on everyone to join the movement to end violence against women, using the colour orange to make your action visible.

And the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, speaking in support of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November, said: ‘Every woman and every girl has the right to a life free of violence.

‘Yet this rupture of human rights occurs in a variety of ways in every community, particularly affecting those who are most marginalized and vulnerable.

‘Around the world, more than 1 in 3 women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lives; 750 million women were married before age 18, and more than 250 million have undergone Female Genital Mutilation.

‘Women’s rights activists are being targeted at alarming levels, and violence against women politicians impedes progress on women’s civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights.

‘It is now widely recognised that violence against women, including harassment and harmful practices, are major barriers to the fulfilment of human rights, and a direct challenge to women’s inclusion and participation in sustaining peace.

‘Without tackling it, we will never fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

‘It is time to further our collective action to end violence against women and girls for good.

‘That takes all of us working together in our own countries, regions and communities, at the same time, towards the same goal.

‘The United Nations is addressing violence against women in many ways, including the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against women; the ‘Spotlight Initiative’ with the European Union to connect our efforts with those of national governments and civil society; and the UN Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Initiative.

‘In addition, my zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment in the United Nations is part of the Strategy on Gender Parity that was launched in September.

‘We have also committed to continuing the ‘UNiTE to End Violence against Women’ Campaign, under the new title ‘UNiTE by 2030’.

‘It is time for united action from all of us, so that women and girls around the world can live free from harassment, harmful practices, and all other forms of violence.’

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