For far too long, impunity, silence and stigma have allowed violence against women and girls to escalate to pandemic proportions—one in three women worldwide experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, mostly by an intimate partner.
Violence against women poses serious consequences to their health and well-being. The most severe consequence is death – globally about 38 per cent of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners. Violence is associated with a range of short- and long-term physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems for victims of intimate partner and sexual violence. Violence against women also affects their children and can lead to high social and economic costs for these women, their families and societies.
The time for change is here and now. While preventing and responding to violence against women requires a multi-sectoral approach, the health sector has an important role to play. The International Day and the 16 Days of Activism are a timely opportunity to raise awareness for the health and social consequences of violence against women and strengthen our commitment to collective action. Only together can we eliminate violence against women and girls.