Violence against women must stop; five stories of strength and survival
New York/IBNS: Conflicts, humanitarian crises, and increasing climate-related disasters have led to higher levels of violence against women and girls (VAWG), which has only intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing into sharp focus the urgent need to stem the scourge.
Image credit: UN Women/Mohammed Bakir
Globally, nearly one-in-three women have experienced violence, with crises driving the numbers even higher.
Gender-based violence (GBV), the most pervasive violation of human rights, is neither natural, nor inevitable, and must be prevented.
Marking the 16 Days of Activism to combat violence against women and girls, UN Women is showcasing the voices of five survivors, each of whose names has been changed to protect their identity. Be forewarned that each character sketch includes descriptions of gender-based violence.
‘Convinced’ she would be killed
From the Argentine province of Chaco, 48-year-old mother of seven, Diana suffered for 28 years before finally deciding to separate from her abusive partner.
“I wasn’t afraid that he would beat me, I was convinced that he would kill me,” she said.
At first, she hesitated to file a police complaint about fear of how he might react, but as she learned more about the services provided by a local shelter, she realized that she could escape her tormentor. She also decided to press charges.
Living with an abusive father, her children also suffered psychological stress and economic hardship.
Leaving was not easy, but with the support of social workers, a local shelter, and a safe space to recover, Diana got a job as an administrative assistant in a municipal office.
Accelerate gender equality
Violence against women and girls is preventable.
Comprehensive strategies are needed to tackle root causes, transform harmful social norms, provide services for survivors, and end impunity.