From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world and in the Region of the Americas. The international campaign originated from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991. More recently, the Sustainable Development Goals have reiterated commitments to end violence against women and girls.
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.
Violence Against Women in the Americas: Technical resources
RESPECT women: Preventing violence against women (2019)
WHO leadership speaks about R.E.S.P.E.C.T
Violence against women is preventable and policy-makers can play a critical role in this regard. The new WHO framework contains a set of action-oriented steps that enables policymakers and health implementers to design, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate interventions and programmes using seven strategies to prevent VAW. The strategies are summarized in R.E.S.P.E.C.T, with each letter representing one strategy.
- • R–elationship skills strengthened
- • E–mpowerment of women
- • S–ervices ensured
- • P–overty reduced
- • E–nvironments made safe
- • C–hild and adolescent abuse prevented
- • T–ransformed attitudes, beliefs, and norms