21 November, 2008

"Turning pain into power"

I don't usually like to focus on stats alone and instead love to rely on opinionated comment as a major source of enticement for social action. Blogs are so effective because they mobilise the mob! Do we need to know all the ins and outs of an issue, or do we just need a little fire to jerk us away from the icy-cold mundane? Well, I tend to think you need to know both, but for today, you are going to have to live with the numbers.

- At least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or other wised abused in her lifetime.

-Worldwide, one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.

- More than 80% of trafficking victims are women. Of that, 50% are minors. Up to 130 million women have been genitally mutilated. Human trafficking is the third most profitable criminal activity after illicit trade in drugs and arms.

- Nearly 50% of all sexual assaults worldwide target girls aged 15 or younger.

- Sexual violence is increasingly recognised as a deliberate method of warfare. It is a crime, but continues with impunity. Between 20,000 and 50,000 women were raped during the conflict in Bosnia during the early 1990s; ten times that many women were sexually violate during the genocide in Rwanda.

- Abductions, detention, mutilation and other degrading or cruel punishments, including sexual torture, forced pregnancy, and deliberate infection with HIV, are among the human rights abuses inflicted upon women and girls in conflict situations.

- In Turkey alone, there are approximately 4 honour killings every week.

- Domestic violence is by far the most common form of violence against women. Too often, it proves fatal. 40 to 70 percent of female murder victims in Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa, and the USA were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. The health-related costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone are estimated at $5.8 billion.

- In Thailand, intimate partner violence is the leading cause of death for women and girls aged 15-24 years.

A few of points to note:

1. In this day and age, we must unite and decide that violence against women is unacceptable, both in the developed and the developing world, both in peace and in war time.
2. We can also agree with Janet Munn when she points out the obvious, yet ignored; that women are the most persecuted people in the world.
3. We are not going to change this situation without men. We must work to include men in the solution and not eject them as the enemy.
4. Accept that violence against women is a problem of pandemic proportion. If we saw it as a problem, maybe there would be more working for a solution.
5. You MUST do something! Spread the word, find a campaign, contact justsalvos, come up with a PR strategy, dob on a perpetrator, raise money, rescue a victim, support a victim, find a victim! But do something! A victim of abuse speaking at the UN today called us to, "turn pain into power". I plead with you to do it and start a culture of un-acceptance today!

May God inspire and burden each one of you, and may your actions bear fruit for the Kingdom.


#Statistics are from United Nations, 'Ending violence against Women' material

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