Male Violence, Our Silence

Up to seven in ten women worldwide experience physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetime. International organizations, governments, communities, and individuals must take action to improve women's legal protection, establish victim-support systems, and, ultimately, catalyze a fundamental shift in attitudes toward women.

VIENNA – As many as 12 women are killed by their partners or family members every day in Europe alone. In 2008, more than one-third of all murders of women in Europe were carried out by the victim’s spouse or former spouse, and an additional 17% by a relative. (In the same year, only 5% of male homicides were committed by the victim’s spouse or former spouse.) These figures represent only a tiny fraction of the relentless assault on women occurring worldwide – one that is not confined by boundaries of wealth, culture, age, race, or geography.

Such violence is happening everywhere: at home, on the street, and in the workplace. In fact, the United Nations estimates that up to seven in ten women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence – or both – during their lifetime.

But violence against women can be difficult to detect. Even those who are aware of it may choose to ignore it, believing that it is none of their business or too widespread for them to make a difference, or because they are too busy to get involved. Clearly, a global shift is needed in gender-related attitudes and standards.

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