In November 2009 the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) launched the campaign Say No – UNITE to End Violence against Women. Since then this global advocacy initiative has stimulated, counted and showcased actions on ending violence against women. The platform has spotlit global efforts and has demonstrated the groundswell of support and actions on the issue.
Actions taken and counted since then have ranged from reaching out to students at schools, to volunteering at local shelters, advocating for legislation and donating funds towards programmes that protect women and girls from violence. The initial goal was to reach 100,000 actions by march 2010 and 1 million actions in one year. At the time of this writing 190,393 actions have been taken and recorded around the world. One easy and powerful action to take was – and is – to sign the global call to make ending violence against women a top priority worldwide.
Please go to http://www.saynotoviolence.org to sign your name.
I'd also like readers to know that natural disasters increase the risk of violence against women and girls. UNIFEM is working to raise seven million dollars to rebuild women's shelters in Haiti and you can help by giving to this fund.
The simple act of speaking out also counts as an action. Go to the Say No Facebook discussion boards and let your voices be heard and counted.
The facts and figures surrounding violence against women and girls are chilling. Up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime – the majority by husbands, intimate partners or someone they know. Among women aged between 15 and 44, acts of violence cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. UNIFEM calls it “the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today. Numbers for Femicide, the murder of women because they are women, trafficking, sexual violence and other harmful practice like female genital mutilation and child brides have reached pandemic numbers.
Please join Say No – Unite to End Violence against Women today. Take action, join an action, do it for the women you love.