Worldwide Gender Violence Statistics

The U.N. report on gender inequality documents how uneven power relationships persist, killing, maiming and terrorizing women worldwide.

The U.N. analysis of data finds:

  • Rape and other forms of sexual violence are increasing. At the same time, many rapes still go unreported because of stigma, trauma and unresponsive legal systems.
  • At least 1,000 women were slain last year in Pakistan in so-called “honor” killings, by male relatives. The toll in such vengeance killings, many for having been raped, is estimated at 5,000 a year.
  • In the United States, a woman is battered every 15 seconds by her intimate partner.
  • Abused women tend not to use family planning services, even when readily available, for fear of reprisals from husbands. This puts women at risk of repeated unwanted pregnancies.
  • Two million girls between the ages of 5 and 15 are taken into the commercial sex trade each year.
  • Sex-selective abortions, infanticide and neglect have killed at least 60 million girls who would otherwise be alive now.

The U.N. study considers work by nongovernmental organizations against such violence to be one of the most important avenues for ending gender-based oppression.

In Africa, for instance, local groups, with international support, are making major strides against female genital mutilation. Local groups also are credited with front line work in saving the survivors of rape and other violence against noncombatant women and their children in wars.

Research, the U.N. report says, shows that the triggering events for violence against women are well known and go across cultures. Violent responses against women result from such things as not obeying the husband, refusing him sex, not having food ready on time, questioning the man about money or girlfriends, going somewhere without his permission or some perceived infraction in child care or housekeeping.

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