Gender-based violence (GBV) is a serious human rights and public health issue, one that affects women and girls of all ages worldwide.
Forms of Violence:
- domestic violence
- forced marriage
- exploitation and harassment
- sexual slavery
- forced prostitution
- human trafficking
- genital mutilation
Hundreds, if not thousands, of women are murdered by their families each year in the name of family honor. These killings happen in Bangladesh, Great Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey and Uganda, according to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
While no teaching in the Koran advocates or condones honor killings, the view of women as property without rights is deeply rooted in Islamic culture. Rape, infidelity, premarital sex, flirting, or even failing to serve a meal on time are cause enough to die.
The practice of honor killing was condoned under fundamentalist Taliban government in Afghanistan, and has been reported in Iraq and Iran.
Many women and young girls in Iraq are denied the right to choose their marriage partner freely, and those who oppose forced marriage are at risk of violence or even of being killed.
According to the United Nations Children's Fund, 5,000+ brides in India are killed each year because their dowries are considered insufficient.
In Jordan, if a woman is afraid that her family wants to kill her, she can check herself into the local prison. But the only person who can get her out is a male relative!
In Pakistan, it is estimated at least three women—including victims of rape—die in the name of family honor daily.
Under Saddam Hussein, women in Iraq who were deemed to be political activists, relatives of activists, or members of certain ethnic or religious groups, were subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence.
Crimes of passion are treated extremely leniently in Latin America and other patriarchal societies.
During the World Cup Soccer Game in 2006, thousands of women and girls were trafficked into Germany and forced into prostitution.
In many cultures, during conflict situations where husbands are killed, it is extremely common for the women to be forced to marry a brother or a father of the deceased husband. It is also common that girls (10-12 years old) are also forced into marriage for economic reasons.
Female genital mutilation, also called female circumcision, involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. The most common type of female genital mutilation is excision of the clitoris and the labia minora, accounting for up to 80 percent of all cases. In cultures where it is an accepted practice, female genital mutilation is practiced by followers of all religious beliefs as well as animists and non believers.
If you live in the United States, please sign the petition asking Congress to make violence against women a top priority in our foreign policy and humanitarian assistance throughout the world.
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Rape in the USA is a Major Problem, Too!
Every two and a half minutes in America, someone is sexually assaulted. One in six American women are victims of sexual assault, and one in 33 men. In 2004-2005, there were an average annual 200,780 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault. About 44 percent of rape victims are under age 18, and 80 percent are under age 30. Rapists are not hiding in the bushes or in the shadows, because almost two-thirds of all rapes were committed by someone who is known to the victim.
- 73 percent of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger,
- 38 percent of perpetrators were a friend or acquaintance of the victim,
- 28 percent were an intimate , and
- 7 percent were another relative (National Crime Victimization Survey, 2005).
Amnesty International, Iran: Decades of suffering, Now women deserve better, February 22, 2005.
International Rescue Committee, GBV Briefing Transcript, Briefing From the Field, Women Caught in the Conflict, How is the IRC Helping Them Survive? March 08, 2007
National Geographic News, Thousands of Women Killed for Family "Honor" (Hillary Mayell), February 12, 2002.
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, Statistics (2006).
World Health Organization, Female genital mutilation (June 2000).