Violence against women is a one of the most common form of human rights violation in the world. The UN estimates that:
- 35% of women worldwide reported experience of either physical and/or sexual. In some countries, this figure goes up to 70%.
- Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children. Of those women, more than 1 in 3—or some 250 million—were married before the age of 15.
- About 70% of all human trafficking victims detected globally are women and girls.
- At least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting in 30 countries.
- Around 120 million girls worldwide (over 1 in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts.
These numbers paint a terrible scenario: women are oppressed, hurt and subject to bodily and psychological humiliation. This must come to an end. The international community needs to act to put a stop to these heinous acts and, luckily, we are seeing global institutions taking actions in this direction. One of the newest and most prominent program being deployed is the Spotlight Initiative.
This initiative is a cooperation between the United Nations and the European Commission that aims “to move into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts” the issue of gender violence. It is so named exactly because to make visible violent acts that are usually staying in the dark, where people cannot see them and hence cannot ask for justice. It also aims to be a reminder that targeted investments and project are necessary to put an end to this horrible phenomenon.
Through renewed investment and focus on the question of violence on women, the Spotlight Initiative is aligning the work of two international bodies towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It will respond to all forms of violence, with a particular focus on domestic and family violence,sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, femicide, trafficking in human beings and sexual and economic (labour) exploitation. As part of its actions, it will deploy targeted, large-scale investments in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific and the Caribbean.
Started in 2017, the Spotlight Initiative has already started making an impact with #HerStoryOurStory – a campaign which aims to raise awareness of the prevalence and impact of violence against women and girls, while demonstrating that we all – collectively and individually – have a role to play in ending it. Starting now.
In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Spotlight Initiative lives by the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’. We could not agree more as no women ever again must be subject to violence of any kind!
If you want to know more about the Spotlight Initiative and other actions the international community can take to stop the violence, join us on the 27th March for our debate at the European Parliament: http://bit.ly/2G5e7ia