Press Release

New Studies Show How Violence Against Women Can Be Stopped

26 February 2007

UNITED NATIONS, New York — Rape in Mauritania, domestic violence in Mexico and Romania, child marriage in Bangladesh, and female genital mutilation/cutting in Kenya are just a few of the abuses visited on women and girls explored in a new United Nations Population Fund report released today in New York.

Unlike other publications that simply chronicle the extent of the problem, Programming to Address Violence Against Women offers 10 case studies that show how carefully targeted and planned interventions can actually reduce gender-based violence.

“What is unusual about this manual is that we have actually demonstrated how entire communities can change their attitudes to violence against women as a result of a few, specifically targeted interventions,” says Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

“In many of these cases, the extent of violence against women was so prevalent and so entrenched that it first seemed impossible to budge the prevailing mindset,” she says. “What we learned is that persistent advocacy targeting community leaders and the larger public can bring about huge changes in a relatively short time.”

“Gender-based violence is not a given in any society,” adds Ms. Obaid. “Not even the most traditional ones. We have definitively proven that with these case histories.”

The lessons from the 10 case studies are distilled in a companion booklet, Ending Violence Against Women: Programming for Prevention, Protection and Care. And, a dynamic new online multimedia exhibit integrates the text from both booklets with videos from each of the ten countries, and links all this material to related UNFPA resources.

As well as working with national and community leaders—including religious authorities, doctors and politicians—UNFPA and its partners assist victims to seek legal redress and, if young, return to school. Because victims of violence face so much stigma, UNFPA and partners also help affected women and girls learn new skills so that they can enjoy economic independence. The organization also backs advocacy efforts to reduce stigma and raise awareness of the prevalence, causes and consequences of gender-based violence.

“Communities can and will change, but the dire consequences associated with gender-based violence constitute a human emergency that requires global and local action,” says Ms. Obaid. “We need to treat it as such.”

To view the publications and online exhibit, go to www.unfpa.org.

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UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

Conact Information:

Patricia Leidl
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5031
Email: leidl@unfpa.org

Omar Gharzeddine
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5028
Email: gharzeddine@unfpa.org  

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