Gender-based violence is a global problem affecting millions of people each year. It threatens lives, undermines families and communities and impedes the progress and security of nations. And although men and boys also suffer such abuse, the vast majority of victims of gender-based violence are women and girls. In fact, globally, over one third of women and girls experience some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
Gender-based violence crosses every social and economic class, ethnicity, race, religion, and education level, and transcends international borders. It is violence directed against an individual because of their actual or perceived biological sex or gender identity. And it is a type of discrimination and gender inequality that is perpetuated by the failure of governments and societies to recognize and value the human rights of women and girls.
“Throughout history, there have been far too many brutal acts of violence against women and girls. While some of these cases have captured international headlines, too often the victims are left to suffer in silence and anonymity,” said Secretary of State John Kerry. “But increasingly we have seen efforts to shine a bright light on this issue and spur a strong public response.”
One such effort to bring the problem of gender-based violence to the forefront is the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, an international push to challenge violence against women and girls. It began on November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends on December 10th, International Human Rights Day.
“The campaign makes clear that violence against women and girls is a human rights issue—and that everyone can and must act to end it,” said Secretary of State Kerry. “We must speak out against violence. We must support survivors and commemorate the victims. And we must stand together in our commitment to end violence against women and girls in all its forms. Together, we can and will make the progress needed to eliminate this scourge on our society."