Monday, November 30, 2009

Get involved: 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

We're five days into the "16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence" campaign, which kicked off Nov. 25, also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. (You can read more about that here, which has a number of related links.) The 16 Days campaign goes through Dec. 10.

Consider these statements, from the release "Violence against women: the world's most widespread and unpunished crime."
  • 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, 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.
I know this problem is so huge and overwhelming that it's hard to find ways to feel useful in helping to stop it. If nothing else, one thing you can do is shed light on the topic. The general population might have an idea about gender violence, but not know the specifics or the extent of the problems. So help enlighten them. Anyone who wants is welcome to copy this and post it on their own blog, Facebook, etc., or send it an e-mail.

Additional resources:
  • The United Nations Population Fund has posted "16 Forms of Gender Violence & 16 Ways to Stop It."
  • The Center for Woman's Global Leadership has a bunch of helpful resources, including a Take Action kit.
  • Visit UNIFEM's SAY NO - UNiTE page to find all kinds of ways to get involved.

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