Friday, 11 April 2014

Violence Against Women

Violence against women is something that pervades many cultures. From India to Bosnia, Riwanda and Congo to South Africa, Sierra Leone to Afghanistan, in Papua New Guinea and the USA and Britain too - there is no continent that is not affected by this pernicious evil. A recent press release from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime draws attention to the extent to which women suffer as victims of domestic abuse.
'Almost half a million people (437,000) across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, according to a new study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Launching the Global Study on Homicide 2013 in London, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, said: "Too many lives are being tragically cut short, too many families and communities left shattered." Globally, some 80% of homicide victims and 95% of perpetrators are men. Almost 15% of all homicides stem from domestic violence, however, and the overwhelming majority of domestic violence fatalities are women. "Home can be the most dangerous place for a woman," said Mr Lemahleu.'

Homicide and domestic violence are the tip of the iceberg. Sexual violence used to humiliate and control communities in war and the practice of Female Genital Mutilation touch the lives of staggering numbers of women. The Church Times this week features stories about the extent to which sexual violence against women is used as a weapon of war. The numbers of women who have suffered rape (some of them babies, others over 70) in war torn parts of Africa is highlighted in a graphic article by Tim Wyatt, First the Rape. Then the Stigma.  A 2012 report suggests that, in South Africa, over 50% of women can expect to be raped in their lifetime. The Today programme on Radio 4 has this week carried interviews with women in India who are working to change cultural perceptions of women and attitudes among men, following the horrific gang rapes in Delhi and Mumbai. Woman's Hour has recently highlighted the fact that not a single prosecution has taken place in the the UK despite laws to prevent FGM.  
William Hague and Angelina Jolie will be co-charing a Global Summit looking for ways to end Sexual Violence in London this summer. The summit, which will take place on 13th and 14th June, will concentrate on four areas for action, aiming
  • to improve investigations/documentation of sexual violence in conflict;
  • to provide greater support and assistance and reparation for survivors, including child survivors, of sexual violence;
  • to ensure sexual and gender based violence responses and the promotion of gender equality are fully integrated in all peace and security efforts, including security and justice sector reform; and
  • to improve international strategic co-ordination.
The Church Times has just put out a list of organisations working to help victims of sexual violence and change the cultures in which it is normative:    
I can do no more than invite readers to look at these sites and to consider whether there is any way that you could give your support to some of the projects and ventures outlined. 


  1. Tom - sorry I don't know why this comment got removed - my lack of IT savvy I think. If you resend I will answer. Apologies.

  2. Sorry about the 3 month delay. As you can see, ~I've not been blogging much lately. I am sure that we should strive to reduce violence among and between both sexes, absolutely. I suppose this article was motivated by thinking particularly about 1) the terrible effect of violence against women used as a weapon of war on whole societies, and 2) the fact that domestic violence often sets up patterns of violence that cascade down generations. But please don't read a focus on these two things as equating with violence against men as dreadful too. Thanks for you comment.

  3. Sorry that should read 'violence against men as not being dreadful' - i.e. as bad, perhaps with different causes.