VAWG might not be the most well-known acronym, but what it represents is one of the most widespread and damaging human rights violations seen around the world. VAWG stands for Violence against Women and Girls, and the United Nations designates November 25th each year as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to underline its commitment to eradicating all forms of physical, sexual and psychological abuse.
These forms of abuse are very often unreported, due to the shame, social stigma, and conspiracy of silence which surround them, as well as the lack of punishment faced by any offender. The UN claims that cruelty against women reveals itself in a variety of ways:
- violence by a partner, in the form of beatings, psychological abuse, marital rape, and including murder and ritual killings
- sexual violence and harassment, including rape, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, stalking, cyber-harassment, and street or workplace harassment
- human trafficking, encompassing slavery and sexual exploitation
- female genital mutilation
- child marriage
Gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, and strikes regardless of race or social status. Some groups are more vulnerable than others – young girls and older women, lesbian, bisexual or transgender women, refugees, migrants and those living through humanitarian crises, ethnic minorities, and women and girls with HIV and disabilities. Western societies often see violence occurring in households where there is a history of drug or alcohol misuse, or where a family member suffers from mental health issues.
United Nations figures claim that worldwide
- 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner
- 750 million women and girls alive today were married before the age of 18, while 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation
- 1 in 2 women killed worldwide in 2012 were murdered by their partner or family, while only 1 in 20 men suffered the same fate
- 71% of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and 3 in 4 of these suffer sexual exploitation
- violence is as big a cause of death and ill-health among women as cancer
In summarising the day of action on November 25th, the UN states: “Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development and peace, as well as to the fulfilment of women and girls’ human rights.”
The Children and Family Law departments at Bretherton Law have been helping families in Hertfordshire for over 50 years, offering professional, experienced and sympathetic advice to those in need. We are proud to be accredited by the Law Society in Family and Children Law, and are members of Resolution, the organisation representing family lawyers and other professionals in the field. Should you need help and advice or have any welfare concerns over family or friends please contact us on 01727 869293, or via the contact form below.
For further information see: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women