[Interactive Map] Violence against women: a global epidemic

Press release
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March 8, 2015 - Violence against women is a scourge affecting all countries and all social environments. On 8 March, FIDH launches an interactive map with links to testimonies of women from around the world who died as a consequence of violence inflicted by men and a selection of FIDH’s actions aimed at promoting reforms to combat this epidemic.

The testimonies are drawn from the theatrical project “Wounded to death”, by Serena Dandini and Maura Misiti, which will be staged for the first time in Tunis, on 8 March 2015, in collaboration with FIDH and its member organisations in Tunisia, ATFD and LTDH.

Violence against women continues to rage across the world. Domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking in women, “honour” crimes, sexual slavery, forced marriage, female genital mutilation… All too often the perpetrators remain unpunished and the victims are unable to assert their rights. As we mark the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, states’ record on violence against women is lamentable. Governments must fulfil their obligations to end this epidemic, in the public as well as the private spheres, by adopting the necessary legislative and political measures, declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

In a letter to a school friend, Mariam shares her impatience to discov er the country of her parents, Mali, where a party will be held to celebrate her coming of age as a woman. But in order to become a woman, Mariam will undergo genital mutilation...
In Mali, 89% of all women and girls are subjected to female genital mutilation. In Somalia the figure is 98%, in Guinea 96%, in Djibouti 93%, and in Egypt 91%. An estimated 130 million women and girls in the world have been genitally mutiliated. In 2012, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a efforts to eliminate this atrocity to be strengthened, but the practice prevails in approximately 30 counties where the political will required to act on this commitment is lacking.

She was nine years old when her husband made her pregnant. She was so small that she was unable to give birth to the child, who died with her.
Such is the fate of thousands of girls all over the world, made pregnant following rape, often in the context of a forced marriage. In many countries abortions in cases of rape are illegal. In Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile and the Dominican Republic it is illegal to terminate a pregnancy under any circumstances. In Ireland, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Bangladesh, extremely restrictive legislation only permits abortion when the woman’s life is in danger. Furthermore, all these laws include procedural constraints making it impossible for women to invoke the exceptions in practice. They are therefore forced to seek illegal and unsafe abortions, risking their lives.

In her school uniform, M. passes through the crowd in Peshawar, with shoulders squared, like a little soldier ready to join her battalion of young girls, armed with the desire to change their own destiny. As she reaches the school, her bus is stopped by two men, who shoot her between the eyes.
In many countries, the rise of fundamentalist groups is accompanied by unprecedented violence, aimed at depriving women and girls of their fundamental rights to life, security, education… Targeted by the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan, by al-Shabaab in Somalia, by ISIS in Iraq and Syria and by Boko Haram in Nigeria, they are tortured, raped, married by force, sold, reduced to slavery, killed and sacrificed in “suicide attacks”.

In order to combat the scourge of violence against women, FIDH and its member organisations will continue relentlessly to document cases of violence and exert pressure on the authorities the world over to adopt legislation and policies to end discrimination and impunity and to guarantee women’s access to justice, protection and reparation. Only States have the power and the responsibility to put an end to the epidemic, asserted Khadija Cherif, FIDH Deputy Secretary General for women’s rights.

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