UNICEF Report Finds Women Live in High Risk of Violence
According to a United Nations report released July 22nd women throughout the world face an unacceptably high risk of violence. Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), commented, "In today's world, to be born female is to be born high risk. Every girl grows up under the threat of violence…This chronic condition of violence amounts to the most pervasive human rights violation in the world today."
According to the report, approximately 60 million more women would be alive today were it not for gender-directed violence. The report also found that 25 to 50% of all women have suffered physical abuse from a partner. Some types of gender violence listed in the report include genital mutilation common in 28 countries, mainly Africa; "son preference" resulting in killing new-born girls or aborting female fetuses, mainly in Asia; dowry killings in India when a new bride’s dowry is deemed insufficient; domestic violence, in the United States where only 1 of every 100 incidents is reported; and acid hurling, mainly in Bangladesh. The report found that, of the world's 193 countries, only 44 have domestic violence legislation, 27 have sexual harassment legislation and 17 regard marital rape as a crime. Even in those countries where laws do exist, they are not necessarily enforced.