Each year, from November 25 through December 10, our colleagues unite in calling for an end against violence against women. It is unbelievable that in 2010, women across all classes and cultures continue to experience sexual, physical, and emotional violence. Globally, at least one in three women will experience violence in her lifetime.
While we hear a lot about the prevalence of violence against women, we hear little about the consequences. Beyond being a gross violation of human rights, violence has demonstrable impacts on a woman’s health and her ability to meaningfully participate in her community. Gender inequality and violence against women are also associated with a substantial number of new HIV infections among women. In Swaziland, which has one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV globally, one-third of girls have been subjected to sexual violence, with nearly half experiencing violence prior to the age of 18.
IWHC’s Board Chair, Brian Brink, published a piece in Friday’s Mail and Guardian about how gender inequality and violence has helped to fuel the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Despite rising infections in women and exemplary local programs, the world has a ways to go before the realities of women’s lives become the centerpiece of programs and policies.
To find out more about policy responses to violence against women, read Seven Things the World Can Do to End Violence Against Women, published in collaboration with Women Won’t Wait, the World AIDS Campaign and the International AIDS Women’s Caucus.