This issue should be considered a global pandemic given that it affects 1 out of 3 women in their lifetime.
Indeed, the numbers are staggering. It is estimated that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or non-partner sexual violence.
Globally, 7% of women have been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner.
Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.
As shocking as it may sound, 200 million women have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting.
This issue is not only devastating for survivors of violence and their families, but it also entails significant social and economic costs. In some countries, violence against women is estimated to cost countries up to 3.7% of their GDP – more than double of what most governments spend on education.
Failure to address this issue also entails a significant cost for the future. Numerous studies have shown that having children growing up in violent environments make them more likely to become survivors themselves or indeed perpetrators of violence in the future.
One characteristic of Gender-Based Violence: no social or economic boundaries restrain the issue. It affects women and girls of all socio-economic backgrounds. In this sense, this issue must be addressed in both developing and developed countries. To do so, a community-based and multi-pronged approach is required a sustained engagement as well with multiple stakeholders. The most effective initiatives address underlying risk factors that lead to violence, including social norms regarding gender roles and tolerance levels of violence.