Press statement by Lakshmi Puri on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri calls on the world to unite to prevent violence against women and girls.


Good morning.

Thank you so much for joining us. 

Today, on the International Day to End Violence against Women, we are uniting to call attention to the outrage that one in three women and girls – yes, one third of all women and girls worldwide -- are subjected to violence in their lifetime. 

We are honored and encouraged to have the Permanent Mission of Italy as a strong partner on the issue by our side to commemorate the day this year.   

Violence against women and girls is a gross human rights violation that knows no boundaries of age, race, religion or nationality. At its roots lie gender inequality and discrimination. It lurks on the streets of our cities and in offices and schools; in conflicts, it is used as a horrific method of warfare. And disturbingly, it is most prevalent at home, where women should feel safe: Up to 70 percent of women in some countries have reported experiencing violence from their husbands or partners.   

We know what it takes to tackle this pandemic of violence – I like to refer to the four Ps: 

  • Prevention to stop the violence before it even starts
  • Protection through the law
  • Prosecution of perpetrators; and
  • Provision of a comprehensive set of services for survivors of violence to help stop the violence and support their recovery.

Importantly, ending violence against women and girls needs political will and adequate resources.  Earlier this year, member states reached a historic agreement at the Commission on the Status of Women on far-reaching policy actions to prevent and respond to violence against women. Now is the time to put  these recommendations into practice. 

And finally, it also needs people around the world who raise their voices and show their colors, and this is what the commemoration of this day is all about.

Our color today is orange, as you can see. We are following a call by the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women under the auspices of which today’s event is being held. The call is to “Orange the World” to raise awareness. Individuals and groups everywhere will follow this call today by organizing orange-themed events and rallies or by simply wearing orange as an expression of solidarity.

People will also raise their voices, in multiple languages and expressions. One particularly poignant way of expression is the power of theatre and we are honored to co-host, together with the Permanent Mission of Italy and the UN Department of Public Information a performance of the play “Wounded to Death” in the Trusteeship Council this afternoon. 

The play presents a series of monologues of women killed at the hands of husbands, lovers, family and presented today by an incredible cast of readers, some of which are with us here right now. It goes right under your skin, a chilling reminder of what we must aim for: Not one abused woman more!

Thank you!