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[16days_discussion] IPPF/WHR Launches 16-Part Blog Series for 16 Days of Activism Campaign

Mandy Van Deven mvandeven at
Mon Nov 28 10:59:24 EST 2011

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

Gender-based violence is endemic in many countries; however, reliable data
on the overall prevalence of gender-based violence is scarce. World Health
Organization research in ten countries around the world indicates that
between 15% and 71% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence by
an intimate partner. Violence against women is a significant cause of injury
and death worldwide, as well as a risk factor for many physical and
psychological health problems; it also has serious negative economic and
social costs, both for individual women and for society as a whole.

The information that is available on gender-based violence comes mostly from
the small number of cases that are reported to the authorities and, on
occasion, to nongovernmental organizations. Because gender-based violence
tends to be greatly underreported, statistics don't present an accurate
picture of the scope of the problem. Nonetheless, they suggest that
gender-based violence is common.

Gender-based violence is a pervasive public health and human rights problem
throughout the world, but the patterns and prevalence of violence vary from
place to place. In Caracas, Venezuela, 40% of women who seek hospital
emergency services report having been beaten by their partners, and 89% of
abuse victims had been treated previously for problems related to violence.
Twelve percent of adult women in Nicaragua report having been physically
assaulted by an intimate partner in the past year, and in Brazil, 19% of
women say they were abused during their pregnancy.

The abuse is not limited to battering. In Venezuela an average of 12 women
report being raped every day. Seventy-two percent of these women are under
the age of 19, and most are raped by someone they know.

IPPF/WHR believes that violence is a sexual and reproductive health
issue‹and that bodily integrity is a human right. Fear of violence affects a
woman¹s health and impedes her ability to use contraception or protect
herself from STIs. The right to be protected from, and to have recourse
against, all forms of violence‹including physical, verbal, psychological,
economic, and sexual abuse‹underpins the need to strengthen sexual rights.
Violence may be inflicted because of a person¹s gender identity or
expression, sexual orientation, marital status, real or imputed sexual
history or behavior, age, or sexual practices. Ensuring sexual rights for
everyone necessitates a commitment to freedom and protection from harm,
which is a guiding principal of IPPF/WHR's Sexual Rights Declaration.

The existence of gender-based violence is often minimized, rationalized, and
denied by individuals from every social class, and aggressors who are
detained by the police are generally released without any sanctions. This
lack of accountability allows violence to continue unchecked.

Our Member Associations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean recognize
the impact women¹s social context has on their clients¹ sexual and
reproductive health, and they meet the needs of victims of violence by
integrating work on gender-based violence into their sexual and reproductive
health programs. In 2008, for example, over 149,000 GBV related services
were offered. This issue hits close to home for many of our staff and
partner organizations, as it involves not only the clients who are treated
professionally but also many individuals we know personally, including
members of our own families.

As a part of this year¹s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
Campaign, IPPF/WHR has organized a 16-part blog series for The Bikini with
contributions from our staff, Member Associations, and community allies that
engage in advocacy against violence. This multimedia series will focus on
several aspects of gender-based violence (GBV) that are underrepresented yet
extremely important. It will include writing, video, and visual art on
topics such as the connections between GBV and HIV, how comprehensive
sexuality education empowers youth to resist GBV, why violence against women
is an international human rights issue, and how GBV affects women¹s
reproductive decisions. The series will showcase the work of individuals and
organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean that have experienced great
success. It will also reveal the story of a woman in the Dominican Republic
who escaped domestic abuse and now helps other women to do the same.

We hope you will join us in celebrating the steps that are being taken to
make our world a safer and more just place for everyone in it. We are
excited to share the next 16 Days with you.

Read the series here:

Mandy Van Deven | Online Administrator
International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region
125 Maiden Lane, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10038 | tel 212 214 0262 | fax +1
212 248 4221 
email mvandeven at  |  web

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