Key Strategies to Eliminate Violence Against Women

There are some key Strategies to Eliminate Violence Against Women. Here I am talking about some important strategies.

Prevention and Response

Currently, there are few interventions whose effectiveness has been proven through well designed studies. More resources are needed to strengthen the prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence, including primary prevention, i.e. stopping it from happening in the first place.

Regarding primary prevention, there is some evidence from high-income countries that school based programmes to prevent violence have shown effectiveness. However, these have yet to be assessed for use in resource-poor settings.

Several other primary prevention strategies: those that combine microfinance with gender equality training: that promote communication and relationship skills within couples and communities; that reduce access to, and harmful use of alcohol; and that change cultural gender norms, have shown some promise but need to be evaluated further.

To achieve lasting change, it is important to enact legislation and develop policies that:

  • Address discrimination against women;
  • Promote gender equality;
  • Support women; and
  • Help to move towards more peaceful cultural norms.

An appropriate response from the health sector can play an important role in the prevention of violence. Sensitization and education of health and other service providers is therefore another important strategy.

To address fully the consequences of violence and the needs of victims/survivors requires a multi-sectoral response.

WHO Actions about Eliminate Violence Against Women

World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with a number of partners, is:

Building the evidence base on the size and nature of violence against women in different settings and supporting countries’ efforts to document and measure this violence and its consequences.

strengthening research and research capacity to assess interventions to address partner violence

developing technical guidance for evidence-based intimate partner and sexual violence prevention and for strengthening the health sector responses to such violence

collaborating with international agencies and organizations to reduce/eliminate violence

Pakistan has good reason to ponder the consequences of the high level of violence against women during the campaign called 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence which ends on Human Rights Day, five days.

When this campaign started on Nov 25, observed every year since 2000 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, many civil society organizations, collectively and severally, expressed concern at the high figures of violence against women.

These efforts were commendable but they did not go far enough. There has not been much worthwhile activity during the rest of the days of activism.

These figures released by civil society organizations do not offer a complete picture of women’s tribulations as a large number of cases are still not reported.

These incidents tell us only about visible violence. Instances of invisible violence are much more numerous and cause much greater havoc. Some of the more common forms of non-cognizable violence are: preventing girls from acquiring education, especially of their choice; destruction of girls’ schools; restrictions on women’s mobility; denial of jobs on merit and equal wage for equal work; child marriages, forced marriages and tendering of girls to resolve feuds.

Unfortunately, the issue of violence against women is still treated in Pakistan largely in terms of the losses and suffering caused to the victims and their families whereas the loss to the community should be given equal, if not more, importance.

Gender-based violence in the home affects the physical and mental growth of children; violence in the workplace reduces women’s efficiency and output.

Violence against women is a major factor in this country’s lowly rating on the gender empowerment scale. Pakistan ranks 82 out of 93 countries in the Gender Empowerment Measure

Thus, the issue that needs to be focused upon during the campaign is the slow pace of women’s empowerment. Violence against women is both a cause and a result of their disempowerment.

Educating People about Gender-Based Violence

The first task obviously is to ensure that all girls are able to receive proper and meaningful education because knowledge is power.

Now that Article 25-A of the Constitution obliges the government to provide education facilities to all children aged five to 16 special efforts will be needed to fill the gender gap at least at the primary and secondary levels.

Providing Adequate Health Facilities

At the same time, health coverage will have to be extended to the female population, and its quality raised. It will also be necessary to look at the infant mortality and maternal mortality rates and the incidence of children’s death and retardation due to malnutrition.

Pakistan is going to pay a heavy price for its failure to realize the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Now is the time for the government to decide what it wishes to do in the post-2015 phase.

Freedom of Taking their Own Decisions

Economic independence, freedom to choose one’s career, and the right to manage one’s earnings are key factors in women’s empowerment. In all these areas, the government is yet to meet the call for affirmative action. Even watchdog bodies, such as the National Commission on the Status of Women, are denied the requisite freedom and resources.

That violence against women and obstacles to their empowerment are both rooted in the feudal culture, of which patriarchy is a core element, is widely known.

So long as the state and society do not realize the need for a social revolution, including the demolition of patriarchal and feudal tyranny, it will be possible neither to end violence against women, nor to empower them, nor even to break the vicious cycle of poverty and exploitation, as a result of which women suffer more than men, and non-Muslim women more than Muslim ones.

Violence by An Intimate Partner

The most common form of violence experienced by women globally is physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner, with women beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused.

A World Health Organization (WHO) study in 11 countries found that the percentage of women who had been subjected to sexual violence by an intimate partner ranged from 6 percent in Japan to 59 percent in Ethiopia.

Sexual Violence

It is estimated that, worldwide, one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.

The practice of early marriage – a form of sexual violence- is common worldwide, especially in Africa and South Asia. Young girls are often forced into marriage and sexual relations, causing health risks, including exposure to HIV/AIDS, and limiting their attendance in school.

Sexual Violence in Conflict

Sexual violence in conflict is a serious, present-day atrocity affecting millions of people, primarily women, and girls.

It is frequently a conscious strategy employed on a large scale by armed groups to humiliate opponents, terrify individuals and destroy societies. Women and girls may also be subjected to sexual exploitation by those mandated to protect them.

Women and girls as old as grandmothers and as young as toddlers have routinely suffered violent sexual abuse at the hands of military and rebel forces.

Rape has long been used as a tactic of war, with violence against women during or after armed conflicts reported in every international or non-international war zone.

Violence and HIV/AIDS

Women’s inability to negotiate safe sex and refuse unwanted sex is closely linked to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Unwanted sex results in a higher risk of abrasion and bleeding and easier transmission of the virus.

Young women are particularly vulnerable to coerced sex and are increasingly being infected with HIV/AIDS.

Over half of new HIV infections worldwide are occurring among young people between the ages of 15 and 24, and more than 60 percent of HIV-positive youth in this age bracket are female.

Dowry Murder

Dowry murder is a brutal practice where a woman is killed by her husband or in-laws because her family cannot meet their demands for dowry – a payment made to a woman’s in-laws upon her marriage as a gift to her new family.

While dowries or similar payments are prevalent worldwide, dowry murder occurs predominantly in South Asia.

Honor Killing

In many societies, rape victims, women and girls suspected of engaging in premarital sex, and women accused of adultery have been murdered by their relatives because the violation of a woman’s chastity is viewed as an affront to the family’s honor.

Trafficking in Persons

Between 500,000 to 2 million people are trafficked annually into situations including prostitution, forced labor, slavery, or servitude, according to estimates. Women and girls account for about 80 percent of the detected victims.

Violence during Pregnancy

Violence before and during pregnancy has serious health consequences for both mother and child. It leads to high-risk pregnancies and pregnancy-related problems, including miscarriage, pre-term labor, and low birth weight.

Cost and Consequences of Gender-Based Violence

The costs of violence against women are extremely high. They include the direct costs of services to treat and support abused women and their children and to bring perpetrators to justice.

The direct costs include lost employment and productivity, and the costs of human pain and suffering.

The cost of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion is for direct medical and healthcare services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.

A 2014 study in the United Kingdom estimated the total direct and indirect costs of domestic violence, including pain and suffering, to be £33 billion per year.

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