New York, Nov 25: Some national studies examining incidents in the United States show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner, UN Women said in a report on Monday.
The agency cited that nearly a quarter of female college students reported having experienced sexual assault or misconduct in the US, but harm targeting women and girls knows no bounds. Multi-country investigations by WHO show partner violence to be a reality for 65 per cent of women in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and around 40 per cent of women in South Asia, as well as Andean parts of Latin America.
Meanwhile, even in regions where incidents are less likely, as in East Asia and Western Europe, more than 16 per cent and 19 per cent of women have experienced intimate partner violence, respectively.
Psychological violence is another layer to the problem, with some 82 per cent of women parliamentarians in a recent study, reporting having experienced remarks, gestures, threats, or sexist comments while serving – most often via social media.
While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, women who identify with the LGBTI community, migrants and refugees, indigenous minorities, and those living through humanitarian crises, are particularly vulnerable to gender-based harm. ''Almost universally, most perpetrators of rape go unreported or unpunished'', Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka explained.
''For women to report in the first place requires a great deal of resilience to re-live the attack…In many countries, women know that they are overwhelmingly more likely to be blamed than believed.''
Attacks targeting women continue to be an obstacle to achieving equality, and impede the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to leave no one behind. Several public events are being coordinated for this year’s International Day to commemorate the fight against gender-based violence, spotlighting rape specifically.
Criminalizing the offense, placing women in positions of power, and strengthening the capacity of law enforcement, are some steps to increase accountability in incidents of sexual assault.
The effects of such violations suppress voices and traumatize, at ''an intolerable cost to society'', said Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka. “No further generations must struggle to cope with a legacy of violation.” (UNI)