Violence against women a ‘mark of shame’ on our societies, says UN chief

By agency reporter
November 26, 2018

Violence against women and girls is not only a fundamental human rights issue but also a “moral affront” against them and a “mark of shame” on all societies, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has said, calling greater action by everyone around the world to root out the scourge.

In a message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November 2018), Mr Guterres also emphasised that such violence and abuse is a major obstacle to inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.

“Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free from fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world,” said the Secretary-General.

The UN chief also noted that at its core, violence against women and girls is the manifestation of a profound lack of respect – a failure by men to recognise the inherent equality and dignity of women – and that it is tied to the broader issues of power and control in societies.

“We live in a male-dominated society,” he said, adding that women are made vulnerable to violence through the multiple ways in which they are kept unequal, harming the individual and has far-reaching consequences for families and society. The violence, he said, can take many forms: domestic attacks to trafficking, from sexual violence in conflict to child marriage, genital mutilation and femicide.

In his message, the Secretary-General said that increasing public disclosure by women from all regions and all walks of life of the sexual harassment they faced is galvanising power of women’s movements to drive action to eliminate harassment and violence everywhere.

This year, the global United Nations UNiTE campaign to end violence against women and girls is highlighting its support for survivors and advocates under the theme Orange the World: #HearMeToo.

“With orange as the unifying colour of solidarity, the #HearMeToo hashtag is designed to send a clear message: violence against women and girls must end now, and we all have a role to play,” said Guterres.

* More about Orange the World: #HearMeToo. here

* United Nations http://www.un.org/en/index.html

[Ekk/4]

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