This is 2016 and yet one in three women worldwide still experiences or has experienced some form of physical or sexual violence, usually perpetrated by someone she knows. Moreover, millions of women and girls have been subjected to other forms of violence and harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation, which affect an estimated 200 million women and girls, or child marriage, with one in three girls in developing countries being married off before the age of 18.
Today on International Day for the Elimination of Violence and for the next 16 days, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund together with partners’ addressing gender-based violence, in Yemen, are working to raise awareness and put an end to violence against women and girls. Focusing on this year’s global theme of ‘peace in the home to peace in the world: Make education safe for all’.
In Yemen, gender-based violence have been widespread even before the conflict. Ninety-two percent of women stated that violence against women was common in the home according to the 2013 Demographic Health Survey.
The onset of the 20-month long crisis has displaced large populations with an estimated 52 percent of them being women, and placed nearly 3 million women and girls at risk of gender-based violence across the country. Some 8,031 incidents of gender-based violence were recorded between January and September 2016, which includes incidence of child marriage, rape and domestic violence, with 64 percent of cases being emotional or psychological abuse or physical assault. The true extent remains far greater in light of social norms that discourage reporting.
The health consequences of violence are enormous and include permanent disability, lingering psychological trauma, unwanted pregnancies and complications. Exposure to, and fear of, violence deprive women and girls of their rights–to education, health and decent livelihoods.
Protecting women and girls from violence and harmful practices is not only a moral and human rights imperative, it is also critical to the economic and social progress of the country.
UNFPA along with 30 partners who form the sub-cluster on gender-based violence will conduct a series of awareness raising initiatives from 25 November to 10 December 2016, across 19 governorates. These include among others, a film competition targeting youth, awareness raising sessions on prevention of violence in schools and a public media campaign on prevention of key gender-based violence issues in Yemen through radio, TV and print media.