19 000 women killed by in­ti­mate part­ners in Africa last year

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AFRICA ac­counts for the sec­ond high­est num­ber of women killed by in­ti­mate part­ners – af­ter Asia.

About 20 000 women were killed by their in­ti­mate part­ners in Asia while 19 000 women were killed in Africa last year, ac­cord­ing to the UN study “Global Study on Homi­cide: Gen­der-re­lated killing of women and girls”.

The study found that Africa is the re­gion where women ran the great­est risk of be­ing killed by their in­ti­mate part­ner, with an in­ti­mate part­ner/fam­ily-re­lated homi­cide rate of 3.1 per 100 000 fe­male pop­u­la­tion.

“The in­ti­mate part­ner/ fam­ily-re­lated homi­cide rate was also high in the Amer­i­cas in 2017, at 1.6 per 100 000 fe­male pop­u­la­tion, as well as Ocea­nia, at 1.3, and Asia, at 0.9.

“Even though the largest num­ber of women and girls are killed by in­ti­mate part­ners or fam­ily mem­bers in Asia, they run the great­est risk of be­ing killed by an in­ti­mate part­ner or fam­ily mem­ber in Africa,” ac­cord­ing to the study.

UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral An­tónio Guter­res said vi­o­lence against women and girls was not only a hu­man rights is­sue, but also a moral dilemma against them and a mark of shame on all so­ci­eties.

“Not un­til the half of our pop­u­la­tion rep­re­sented by women and girls can live free from fear, vi­o­lence and ev­ery­day in­se­cu­rity can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world.”

Guter­res was speak­ing at a com­mem­o­ra­tion on the In­ter­na­tional Day for the Elim­i­na­tion of Vi­o­lence against Women at the week­end.

He said there was a fail­ure by men to recog­nise the in­her­ent equal­ity and dig­nity of women – and this was tied to the broader is­sues of power and con­trol in so­ci­eties.

“We live in a male-dom­i­nated so­ci­ety, and women are made vul­ner­a­ble to vi­o­lence through the mul­ti­ple ways in which they are kept un­equal, harm­ing the in­di­vid­ual. This has far-reach­ing con­se­quences for fam­i­lies and so­ci­ety.”

UN Women ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said the theme was a call “to lis­ten to and be­lieve sur­vivors”, to end the cul­ture of si­lenc­ing, and to put the sur­vivors at the cen­tre of the re­sponse.

“The fo­cus must change from ques­tion­ing the cred­i­bil­ity of the vic­tim to pur­su­ing the ac­count­abil­ity of the per­pe­tra­tor,” she said, un­der­scor­ing that #HearMeToo is “there­fore also a strong call to law en­force­ment”.

She said that this year the global United Na­tions’ UNiTE cam­paign to end vi­o­lence against women and girls high­lighted their sup­port for sur­vivors and ad­vo­cated un­der the theme Or­ange the World: #HearMeToo.

“Po­lice and ju­di­cial in­sti­tu­tions must take re­ports se­ri­ously, and pri­ori­tise the safety and well-be­ing of sur­vivors, for ex­am­ple by mak­ing more fe­male of­fi­cers avail­able for women re­port­ing vi­o­lence.”

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