UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund

State of World Population 2005



© Marie Dorigny/UNFPA
Villager covers face in the town of Tigray, Ethiopia.

Gender-Based Violence:
A Price Too High

-The Magnitude and Many Forms of Gender-Based

-Violence Against Women and the MDGs

-Mobilizing for 'Zero Tolerance'

-Men Take a Stand

Men Take a Stand

Some initiatives are building momentum by enlisting groups of men to promote a culture of "zero tolerance" for gender-based violence. The White Ribbon Campaign, for example, founded in Canada and the largest effort of its kind in the world, is based on the idea that all men and boys must take responsibility for ending violence against women. Participation is open to any man who is opposed to violence against women. Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. The organization encourages reflection that leads to personal and collective action among men, distributes education and action kits to schools, addresses public policy issues and works with women's organizations.(74) In 2004, a national campaign to stop violence against women was launched in Brazil by men's and women's groups backed by ECOS, a research organization focusing on gender and sexuality. As part of the campaign, well-known comic actors appeared in a video stating that violence against women is "not funny".(75)

A Philippine NGO, Harnessing Self-Reliant Initiatives and Knowledge, developed a model of gender-sensitive training on gender stereotyping, violence against women and other related issues. Some of the participants have formed groups aimed at reaching other men and intervening with abusive partners.(76) In Cambodia, Men Against Violence Against Women supports annual campaigns against genderbased violence and works to provide young men with role models.(77)

Although its toll is increasingly acknowledged, responses to the problem of gender-based violence remain inadequate. Several initiatives have had limited impact due to a lack of comprehensive policies and action plans, and limited data and research on which to base and monitor them. Weak enforcement mechanisms and insufficient resources to implement them are common. Policy and legal frameworks to address violence against women as a human rights and public health concern need to be developed, upgraded and fully implemented. Because gender-based violence is so widely tolerated, successful action ultimately requires social transformation. Elements of successful and comprehensive approaches include: strengthened legal systems; investments in the safety, education, reproductive health and rights, and economic empowerment of women; gender-sensitive education from an early age; public health systems that provide appropriate care and support for victims; mobilizing communities, opinion and religious leaders, and the media; and engaging young and adult men to take a strong stand on the issue.

Inadequate budgets(78) and competing priorities have contributed to inaction on this issue. Yet the costs of effective measures to reduce violence are insignificant in comparison to the human, social and economic impact on present and future generations. In Tajikistan, for example, the UN Millennium Project estimated that a mere $1.30 per capita per year would make a difference to implement a set of gender-specific interventions that includes those to combat gender-based violence.(79) In the United States, the 1994 Violence Against Women Act has provided an estimated net benefit of $16.4 billion, proving that prevention costs far less than inaction.(80) Investments in prevention and women's protection have high and cost-effective payoffs, and are critical to the Millennium Declaration's pledge "to create an environment. conducive to development and to the elimination of poverty".(81)

8. Women and Young People in Humanitarian Crises >>
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