International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Women's activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960, of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).

The World Health Organisation lists some key facts about violence against women:

  • Violence against women - particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence - are major public health problems and violations of women's human rights.
  • Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one third (30%) of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner.
  • Violence can negatively affect women's physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health, and may increase vulnerability to HIV.
  • Factors associated with increased risk of perpetration of violence include low education, child maltreatment or exposure to violence in the family, harmful use of alcohol, attitudes accepting of violence and gender inequality.
  • Factors associated with increased risk of experiencing intimate partner and sexual violence include low education, exposure to violence between parents, abuse during childhood, attitudes accepting violence and gender inequality.
  • There is evidence from high-income settings that school-based programmes may be effective in preventing relationship violence (or dating violence) among young people.
  • In low-income settings, strategies to increase women's economic and social empowerment, such as microfinance combined with gender equality training and community-based initiatives that address gender inequality and relationship skills, have shown some effectiveness in reducing intimate partner violence.
  • Situations of conflict, post conflict and displacement may exacerbate existing violence, such as by intimate partners, and present additional forms of violence against women.

There is support available for those involved in domestic violence. Womens Aid works with women and children who have been affected by violence, along with Refuge and the National Centre For Domestic Violence.