To End Violence against Women, We Must All Join Together
24 November 2010
Message from Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
We join with the millions of women and men, community groups, women's rights networks, government partners, parliamentarians, health workers and teachers who have made 25 November — the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women — a day to come together and renew our common commitment to ending the global pandemic of violence against women.
Worldwide, women and girls continue to suffer violence inside and outside of their homes, often at the hands of intimate partners or persons of trust. Gender-based violence, particularly sexual violence, has also become a troubling and persistent feature in situations of armed conflict. Stopping violations of women's human rights is a moral imperative and one which we must come together to combat. The impact of such a scourge on society — psychological, physical, and economic — cannot be overstated. Addressing this persistent violation can also reverse the economic impact of significantly lower productivity and higher health care costs — funds drained away on a preventable problem.
The Secretary-General's Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women has given new impetus to efforts to end violence against women. More than 130 countries now have laws against domestic violence, but more needs to be done to enforce them and counter impunity. More men and men's organizations are joining in the campaign to end violence against women and girls, but we need to combat attitudes and behaviours that permit or even encourage this violence. We need services so that the millions of women and girls who survive abuse every year can recover and secure justice. We must hold perpetrators to account. We must intensify prevention efforts, so that someday we will no longer need to meet on 25 November and call for ending violence against women.
Joining in the efforts to stop violence is everybody's responsibility. Governments, private enterprises, civil society groups, communities and individual citizens can all make essential contributions. Men and boys must be active in encouraging respect for women and zero tolerance for violence. Cultural and religious leaders can send clear messages about the value of a world free of violence against women.
As we come together to end violence, a core part of our responsibility must be providing enough resources. So far, this investment has been inadequate. Last year, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women met only 3 percent of the requests it received for programmes vital to progress. The fund has a US$100 million annual funding goal that we can all strive to reach. These funds will go to governments, civil society groups and UN agencies at the forefront of advocacy and innovation to end violence against women and girls.
Step by step, we can work together towards the day when all women live free from violence and realize their full potential as powerful agents for thriving, peaceful societies.