WORDS: JESSICA VANDER LEAHY
November 25th marks the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
According to the UN 1 in 3 women and girls will experience gender based violence within her lifetime. That's a staggering statistic. And this pandemic level of violence against women is not just occurring in underdeveloped nations, inAustralia for instance, 77 women this year have been violently murdered and in many of those cases police have charged someone intimately known to the victim.
In the UK the ONS survey shows that in 2014 1.4 million women suffered from domestic abuse including violence, stalking and sexual assault - and that's just the reported cases. And in the U.S. one woman is beaten or assaulted every 9 nine seconds, according to the National Collation Against Domestic Violence - meaning that in the time it takes you to read this line a woman is suffering at the hands of a man she likely knows. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9... It happened again.
But while women are left battered and bruised, sometimes even dead after they become victims of violence, they are not the only ones who suffer. Because when a woman is abused everyone around her will be left with some form of collateral damage.
In America, according to a U.S. Justice Department's special report on 'Nonfatal Domestic Violence, 2003-2012', intimate partner violence accounts for 15 per cent of all crime in the U.S. - ALL crime. So that woman you heard about who literally got the life kicked out of her in front of her kids contributes to the hefty $37 billion annual cost that domestic violence incurs from law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies (Safe Horizons). DV is the third leading cause of homelessness, children who are in violent homes are more likely to suffer neglect and abuse, young girls who see violence are more likely to become victims themselves. Equally boys who see violence are more likely to become abusers and violent criminal offenders - not just committing crimes against women, but other men also.
The fact is that if one woman suffers from violence, everybody suffers. Please, help. Speak out and help #BeHerVoice
To find out more and to help support an end to gender based violence visit UN Women.