3 March 2009
At least one out of every three women in the world is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime, according to UN estimates, and one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape. Trafficking, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, dowry murder, honour killings and female infanticide are other widespread aspects of the problem.“Violence against women and girls makes its hideous imprint on every continent, country and culture,” said the Secretary-General. “It is time to focus on the concrete actions that all of us can and must take to prevent and eliminate this scourge – Member States, the United Nations family, civil society and individuals – women and men. It is time to break through the walls of silence, and make legal norms a reality in women’s lives.”
The campaign will aim to mobilize public opinion to ensure that policy makers at the highest level work to prevent and eradicate violence against women. A key target will be to secure political will and increased resources from governments, international institutions, United Nations entities, the private sector and other donors for policies and programmes to tackle the problem. The Secretary-General is calling on world leaders, men and women, to lead national campaigns to end violence against women. The growing commitment of men to prevent and combat violence against women will be leveraged, and the campaign will welcome and encourage the active involvement of men and boys, recognizing the critical role they must play.
Running from 2008 to 2015 – to coincide with the target date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the campaign will focus on three key areas: global advocacy; United Nations leadership by example; and strengthened efforts and partnerships at the national, regional and international levels. The link to the MDGs reflects the fact that violence against women constrains the active involvement of women in development and is seen as a serious obstacle to the achievement of all internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs.