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16 Facts You Need to Know About Gender-Based Violence

16 Days of Activism is a worldwide campaign to end violence against women and girls. The campaign launches each year on November 25th – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – and runs through December 10th – World Human Rights Day.  

Here are 16 facts you need to know about gender-based violence (GBV) this 16 Days of Activism from our colleagues at Women for Women UK:

1) 1 in 3 women worldwide has experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.

This number hasn’t changed in the past 10 years – and now the situation is intensifying due to the effects of the pandemic.

(Source: UN OCHA)

2) More than 70% of women in some crisis settings have experienced gender-based violence. 

The women survivors of war in our program live in some of the most dangerous places to be a woman. Many have experienced physical and/or sexual violence, exacerbated by the stresses of lockdowns, financial pressure and food shortages caused by COVID-19. 

(Source: UN Women)

3) In Afghanistan, our data shows that nearly 40% of women felt empowered to speak out publicly against the abuse of women after graduating from our program. 

This number was just 2% at enrollment.

(Source: Women for Women International Monitoring and Evaluation Data)

4) 1 in 5 women refugees experience sexual violence.

Women refugees and internally displaced women suffer from marginalization, sexual and gender-based violence, and child marriage. While fleeing their homes, in camps or due to poverty, the threat of kidnapping, trafficking or being forced into marriage is all too real.

(Source: UN OCHA)

5) Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18.

That is 23 girls every minute, many of whom go on to experience domestic violence. Keeping girls in education is critical for reducing this number.

(Source: UNICEF, Child Marriage Database, 2020)

6) At enrollment, women in our program in the Democratic Republic of Congo reported that only 46% of girls (aged 5-17) were in school. 

At graduation, women reported a 15% increase - reporting that 53% of girls were in school.

(Source: Women for Women International Monitoring and Evaluation Data)

7) Globally, around 137 women are killed by their partner or a family member every day.

This is one reason why it is so important that our program equips women with the knowledge, tools and resources to protect themselves, and that our Men’s Engagement Program helps men to understand issues of gender-based violence – and to know that women’s rights are human rights.

(Source: UN)

8) 19% of graduates from our program in Nigeria reported publicly speaking out against abuse.

At enrollment, this figure was only 1% – that’s an 1800% increase.

(Source: Women for Women International Monitoring and Evaluation Data)

9) Economic violence stops women from accessing their income, saving and becoming financially independent from their husbands and male family members.

"When a woman gets married, any property she owns belongs to her husband. If she gets divorced, she cannot take with her. Even an unmarried woman, when her father dies, will not get any inheritance. Even though women do most of the farm work, they can’t access their earnings." -  Zainab Gbobaniyi, Lawyer and Advocacy Trainer, Women for Women International Nigeria

10) Violence against women disproportionately affects those in poorer countries and regions of the world.

(Source: UN Women)

11) In the conservative communities where we work, women are denied influence over decision-making – including over their own bodies.

At enrollment, only 40% of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo reported being involved in decisions about having more children, compared to 76% of women graduates. This highlights an important shift in women’s voices being heard in decision-making, which should also lead to positive changes in wellbeing.

(Source: Women for Women International Monitoring and Evaluation Data)

12) Ending gender-based violence and discrimination requires action from men, as well as women.

In communities where our men’s engagement activities are delivered, the women we work with have higher class attendance rates and increased value as decision-makers within the family.

In Afghanistan, 99% of sampled 2016 male graduates reported positive attitudes regarding women’s role in family decision-making compared to only 24% at enrollment.

(Source: Women for Women International Monitoring and Evaluation Data)

13) More than 200 million women and girls alive today have experienced female genital mutilation (FGM). 

And this is just in the 30 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East where the practice is most concentrated.  

Eradicating harmful practices like FGM must come from within – that’s why we work with women as agents of change in their communities, to identify local issues and create action plans to tackle them.

(Source: WHO)

14) Women gaining confidence is central to their empowerment, believing in themselves and their abilities to participate, succeed, engage and create change for themselves, their facilities and communities. It is also a positive sign of recovery from trauma and isolation.

Read Zainab’s story – a graduate of our program in Nigeria who shared:

“It made me appreciate myself more as a human being.” 

15) Men’s engagement is key.

We take an integrated approach to our work, investing in men’s engagement and education to complement our Stronger Women, Stronger Nations Program.

Across our men’s engagement activities in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, men were 80% more active in supporting women's rights at graduation compared to enrollment.

(Source: Women for Women International Monitoring and Evaluation Data)

16) Violence against women relies on a culture of silence - raise your voice today

We know that it takes courage to speak out - but if we all join together to raise our voices, we increase our collective power to end violence against women.

Your voice, your action, has the power to help make a change.