Gender Based Violence
Throughout the world women and girls are subject to many different forms of violence including physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse. Violence affects women and girls from all backgrounds and happens across all stages of life and is perpetrated by partners and family members as well as strangers.
The social injustice of gender based violence (GBV) has a profound impact which includes physical injury and illness, psychological damage, social isolation, exclusion and poverty, and ultimately death.
The prevalence of GBV varies across the world. Physical violence affects from three per cent of women a year in France, to 50 per cent of women and girls in Ethiopia. Sexual violence is endemic across the world. For example in the Democratic Republic of Congo 48 women are raped every hour and in Lesotho 61 per cent of women report having suffered sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.
Through projects and programmes Mothers’ Union offers practical support to survivors and challenges the underlying attitudes that perpetuate GBV.
At the UN Commission on the Status of Women and through a global campaign we are also calling on governments across the world to help change attitudes towards GBV, to invest in prevention and support for survivors, and to enforce legal frameworks outlawing GBV.
Last November, to mark the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, Mothers' Union held a conference in London entitled, “Beyond the 16th Day: Moving Forward to End Violence Against Women and Girls”. This brought together a number of excellent speakers to highlight the different forms of violence experienced by women and girls across the world.
Each speaker presented a wealth of insight into issues such as online abuse, violence against older women, the role of sex and relationship education in preventing abuse, the role of law enforcement and the justice system, perpetrator programmes, and the role of faith groups; in both UK and international contexts. The day finished with a workshop session that provided participants with the opportunity to share ideas and experiences, and identify policy and practice recommendations for ending violence against women and girls.