Today marks the United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. According to the UN, at least one in three women worldwide “has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.” The economic costs of domestic violence in the United States alone exceed more than $5.8 million each year.
Ines Alberdi, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) outlined in her statement today the key measures that the UN seeks to put in place to combat violence against women worldwide: “prompt police response, health and legal services, free of charge, for poor women and girls; shelter and safe options for women surviving or fleeing life-threatening situations; national hotlines available 24-hours a day to report abuse and seek protection; basic front-line services for emergency and immediate care for women and girls who have suffered abuse and rape; and accountable judiciary and national action plans to end discrimination and promote equality.” UNIFEM announced yesterday that they will award $19 million in grants for 23 projects in 29 countries that aim to reduce gender-based violence.
Earlier this year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched a campaign during the UN’s 52nd Commission on the Status of Women that seeks an to end violence against women through implementing the aforementioned measures. The campaign, called UNite to End Violence against Women, will run until 2015 and calls for the cooperation of the UN, national governments, and society in general to end global violence against women.