Sunday marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, a day designed to raise awareness of the alarming level of violence to which women and girls around the world are subjected every day. Indeed, new United Nations data on violence against women reveals that domestic abuse is the most common killer of women, with the majority of the world's female homicide victims being killed by someone they know.
The aforementioned report was published on Sunday. It was written by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and is entitled, "Femicide Report 2018." UNODC's report found that, last year, around 87,000 women were killed worldwide. Of these 87,000 women, 58 percent were killed by intimate partners or members of their families. As a summary of the report on UNODC's website described, "This amounts to some six women being killed every hour by people they know."
The summary further described that, while there are more male homicide victims than female homicide victims around the world, women's murders vastly disproportionately tend to stem from violence directed at them because of their gender. UNODC's Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, reflected on this issue in the report's summary, saying:
While the vast majority of homicide victims are men, women continue to pay the highest price as a result of gender inequality, discrimination and negative stereotypes. They are also the most likely to be killed by intimate partners and family ...
The report also revealed further statistics to highlight the disproportionate impact of domestic violence on women. For example, in homicides perpetuated by family members or intimate partners, 64 percent of victims were women and 36 percent were men. The scenario is even worse when it comes exclusively to intimate partner violence. As the report described, in homicide scenarios where an intimate partner is the only perpetrator, approximately 82 percent of victims were women and approximately 18 percent were men.
In his statement marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres staunchly condemned the pervasive level of violence against women and girls around the globe:
[Violence] ... is a moral affront to all women and girls, a mark of shame on all our societies and a major obstacle to inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. At its core, violence against women and girls is the manifestation of a profound lack of respect – a failure by men to recognize the inherent equality and dignity of women ... Violence against women is tied to broader issues of power and control in our societies. We live in a male-dominated society. Women are made vulnerable to violence through the multiple ways in which we keep them unequal ...
While revealing the startling level of violence against women and girls, UNODC's report also made some recommendations for the best ways to help diminish this violence. These recommendations include developing more comprehensive judicial, police, and health/social services to help prevent gender-related killings. The report also stressed that men need to be involved in violence prevention efforts, particularly when it comes to changing societal norms around toxic masculinity.
The level of violence against women and girls around the world is jarring, to say the least. UNODC's most recent report made it clear that much more needs to be done to ensure that the lives and rights of women and girls are protected and respected.