The most dangerous place in the world for a woman is not a dingy back-alley, a battlefield, or even their place of work. It is their own home.
That is the main take away from a major new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) looking at the gender-related killing of women and girls across the globe.
Of the 87,000 women killed around the world last year, around 50,000 were murdered at the hands of an intimate partner or a close family member – that’s about one woman being killed by someone they know every 10 minutes. Up to 30,000 (34 percent) of female homicides were committed by intimate partners, and 137 women are killed a day by a family member.
This is a trend that’s on the rise globally, despite the many programs developed to eradicate violence against women, new legislation in dozens of countries, and increasing awareness. In 2012, around 47 percent of all female homicide victims were killed by intimate partners or family members. In 2017, that figure was 58 percent.
At the global level, men are around four times more likely than women to lose their lives as a result of murder. However, women still account for the vast majority of homicides committed by a romantic partner or someone they’re related to, most often in the form of abusive relationships or religious-based murder, such as so-called “honor killings.”
“While the vast majority of homicide victims are men, women continue to pay the highest price as a result of gender inequality, discrimination and negative stereotypes. They are also the most likely to be killed by intimate partners and family,” Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director, said in a statement.
By a clear margin, Africa was found to be the part of the world where women were most at risk of being killed by an intimate partner or family member, at around 3.1 victims per 100,000 female population. The rate was also high in the Americas, at 1.6 per 100,000 female population, as well as Oceania, at 1.3, and Asia, at 0.9.
Europe had the lowest share of all the regions in terms of women killed exclusively by intimate partners, with 0.7 victims per 100,000.
The UNODC report states there is a need for further legislation and more anti-violence programs to be developed, especially those which focus on the importance of men in the solution by “changing cultural norms that move away from violent masculinity and gender stereotypes.” Furthermore, they argue that a lot could be achieved by greater coordination between the police and the justice system, as well as health and social services.
Lastly, it also cited legislation in 18 Latin American countries that recognize and define “femicide” as a criminal offense related to the gender-based killing of women and girls, which has been met with some success.
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