Monday, February 25, 2013



It's everywhere.  Violence against women is a worldwide epidemic.  

According to the UNIFEM report, Not A Minute More: Ending Violence Against Women:

 “Throughout the world, one in three women will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Violence against women has become as much a pandemic as HIV/AIDS or malaria. But still it is downplayed by the public at large and policymakers who fail to create and fund programmes to eradicate it.”

Recently the World Health Organization reported in 10 mainly developing countries found that, among women aged 15-49:

  • between 15% of women in Japan and 71% of women in Ethiopia reported physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime;

  • between 0.3–11.5% of women reported experiencing sexual violence by a non-partner since the age of 15 years;

  • the first sexual experience for many women was reported as forced – 17% in rural Tanzania, 24% in rural Peru, and 30% in rural Bangladesh.

Let's not stop there.  That would be unfair. 

How about the USA.  

One out of every five American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. (The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)

22 million women in the United States have been raped in their lifetime. 63.84% of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date. (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010) 

 Somewhere in America a woman is battered, usually by her intimate partner, every 15 seconds. (UN Study On The Status of Women, Year 2000)

Meanwhile according to Futures Without Violence:

On average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States

In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published data collected in 2005 that finds that women experience two million injuries from intimate partner violence each year.

You probably never heard, as the World Bank reports, 

"The Pacific region has some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world. A 2008 WHO survey found that 23 per cent of women in Kiribati reported abuse during pregnancy, while 68 per cent of women aged 15-49 experienced violence from an intimate partner...According to the World Bank's 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development, between 60 and 70 per cent of women in Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu report experiencing some form of domestic violence.."

You are more likely to have heard something like what the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:

India is the fourth most dangerous country in the world for women. A recent study conducted by India’s Central Statistical Organisation, found that nearly three million girls, one million more than boys, are “missing” in 2011 compared to 2001 and there are now 48 fewer girls per 1,000 boys than there were in 1981. According to police records, a woman is raped in India every 20 minutes. But even the most violent crimes committed against women are rarely reported and perpetrators are often unpunished. At the same time, broad community awareness of violence against women is low. As a result, many such crimes continue with impunity.

And, if for some reason, you are not now convinced that there really is (and long has been) a very real war against women going on every single day, and in every single place on the planet.  Well, here is a lengthy list of bad business reported by the UN which will surely convince you.

Between 15 and 76 percent of women are targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the available country data. Most of this violence takes place within intimate relationships, with many women (ranging from 9 to 70 percent) reporting their husbands or partners as the perpetrator.


In Guatemala, two women are murdered, on average, each day.

In India, 8,093 cases of dowry-related death were reported in 2007; an unknown number of murders of women and young girls were falsely labeled ‘suicides’ or ‘accidents’.

In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, between 40 and 70 percent of female murder victims were killed by their intimate partners.

In the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, 66 percent of murders of women were committed by husbands, boyfriends or other family members.

Violence and Young Women

Worldwide, up to 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16.

An estimated 150 million girls under the age of 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002 alone.

The first sexual experience of some 30 percent of women was forced. The percentage is even higher among those who were under 15 at the time of their sexual initiation, with up to 45 percent reporting that the experience was forced.

Harmful Practices

Approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting, with more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of the practice.

Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18, primarily in South Asia (31.3 million) and sub-Saharan Africa (14.1 million). Violence and abuse characterize married life for many of these girls. Women who marry early are more likely to be beaten or threatened, and more likely to believe that a husband might sometimes be justified in beating his wife.


Women and girls are 80 percent of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked across national borders annually, with the majority (79 percent) trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Within countries, many more women and girls are trafficked, often for purposes of sexual exploitation or domestic servitude.

One study in Europe found that 60 percent of trafficked women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence before being trafficked, pointing to gender-based violence as a push factor in the trafficking of women.

Sexual Harassment

Between 40 and 50 percent of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.

Across Asia, studies in Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea show that 30 to 40 percent of women suffer workplace sexual harassment.

In Nairobi, 20 percent of women have been sexually harassed at work or school.

In the United States, 83 percent of girls aged 12 to 16 experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools.

Rape in the context of Conflict

Conservative estimates suggest that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were targeted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Between 50,000 and 64,000 women in camps for internally displaced people in Sierra Leone were sexually assaulted by combatants between 1991 and 2001.

In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence, mostly involving women and girls, have been documented since 1996: the actual numbers are believed to be far higher.

Some may criticize me because all I did here was cite some facts.  I didn't delve into reasons.  I didn't suggest what we need to do to stop this.  

Whatever!   I have done that before and I will do it in the future.  Today I just wanted to hammer you over the head with just a glimpse of what misogyny , hatred of women, fear of women, exploitation of women and all the rest mean in today's world.  

The following is from Edge of Sports.

Oscar Pistorius and the Global System of Deadly Misogyny

A professional athlete; a home with an arsenal of firearms; a dead young woman involved in a long-term relationship with her killer. In November, her name was Kasanda Perkins and the man who shot her was Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Now her name is Reeva Steenkamp, killed by Olympic sprinter and double amputee Oscar “the Blade Runner” Pistorius. We don’t know whether Pistorius is guilty of murdering a woman he claims to have deeply loved or is guilty merely of being an unbelievably irresponsible gun owner, firing four bullets into the door of his bathroom in an effort to hit an imagined burglar. We do know that this is either an all-too-familiar story of a man and the woman he dated and then killed, or it’s the story of a man who thought a burglar had penetrated the electrified fence that surrounded his gated community to break into his house and use his toilet.

Just as with Belcher and Perkins, we will learn more than we ever wanted or needed to know in the weeks to come about the nature of Pistorius and Steenkamp’s relationship. We will learn about the “allegations of a domestic nature” that had brought police to his home in the past. We will learn about Pistorius’s previous allegedly violent relationships with women. We will learn about the variety of guns he kept at close hand. We will surely discuss male athletes and violence against women: the sort of all-too-common story that can create commonality between a football player from Long Island and a sprinter from Johannesburg. We might even ponder the way these gated communities, one of which was also the site of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin’s murder a year ago, become throbbing pods of paranoia and parabellums. We will learn about everything except what actually matters: there is a global epidemic of violence against women, and South Africa is at its epicenter.

Two days before Steenkamp’s death, there were protests outside of the South African parliament about the failures of the state to adjudicate the unsolved rapes and murders of women across the country. As the executive director of the Rape Crisis Centre Kathleen Dey said on February 12, “There are no overnight cures to the scourge of rape that is affecting South Africa. We have the highest instance of rape in the world and we cannot continue in this way.” The official statistics are shocking. Every seventeen seconds a woman is raped in South Africa yet just one out of nine women report it and only 14 percent of perpetrators are convicted. The Rape Crisis Centre and other organizations are starved for funds, with the demand for social services, counseling and even HIV tests far outstripping their capacity.

There have also had to be demonstrations against what the Women’s League of the African National Congress has termed “femicide.” In this country of 50 million people, three women a day are killed by their partners. When news of Steenkamp’s death became front-page news across the country, it pushed out ongoing headlines of the February 2 Western Cape gang rape and mutilation of a 17-year-old girl named Anene Booysen. Before her death, Booysen identified one of her perpetrators: it was someone she both trusted and knew.

This is hardly a South African problem, of course. We are confronting nothing less than a global system of brutal misogyny. Too many men across the world see too many women as repositories of their rage, frustration, narcissism or simply their will to enact violence. The World Health Organization’s reports that depending on the country, anywhere from “15% (Japan) to 71% (Ethiopia) of women report physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.” Like in South Africa, every statistic on this issue must be viewed with skepticism because of the transnational stigmas and shame that silence women who have survived.

In the United States, rape culture and the rape it produces have been normalized to the point where Notre Dame athletes accused of rape can take the field for a national championship football game without a peep from the sports pages. It’s a country where Fox News host Bob Beckel can ask incredulously, “When’s the last time you heard about rape on a college campus?” It’s a country, and a world, where people are now saying enough is enough.

It’s a global problem that will get solved only with a global response if we want to even dream of a world where violence against women is a relic of history. That’s the sentiment behind initiatives like “One Billion Rising to End Violence Against Women and Girls,” and this kind of brave solidarity and support is extremely welcome. This very solidarity was displayed by Reeva Steenkamp herself just before her death. Distraught over the murder of Anene Booysen, Steenkamp sent out an instragam message. It read, “I woke up in a happy safe home this morning. Not everyone did. Speak out against the rape of individuals in SA. RIP Anene Booysen.” Short of a billion of us rising, happy and safe homes will not be a reality for the women of the world. It should be. We have to act now unless we want to keep telling the stories of Kasandra Perkins, Anene Booysen and Reeva Steenkamp over and over again, only with different names.

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