The UN Secretary-General’s UNITE by 2030 to End Violence Against Women is the fourth of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (November 25 to December 10, 2020) under the global theme, “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect! ” UN Women Generation Equality Campaign expands call for global action to bridge funding gaps, provides essential services to survivors of violence during the COVID-19 crisis, focuses on prevention and data collection that can improve life-saving services for women and girls. The campaign is part of the UN’s women’s efforts for Beijing + 25 and the building of new actions and commitments to end violence against women during the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico and France in 2021.
This year is like no other. Even before COVID-19 had an attack, violence against women and girls reached pandemic proportions. Worldwide, 243 million women and girls have been abused by an intimate partner in the past year. Meanwhile, less than 40 percent of women who experience violence report it or seek help.
As countries have implemented lock-in measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, violence against women, especially domestic violence, has increased – in some countries calls for help lines have increased fivefold. In others, formal reports of domestic violence have declined as survivors find it more difficult to seek help and access support through the regular channels. The closure of the school and economic tensions left women and girls poorer, without school and no longer working, and more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, forced marriages and harassment.
In April 2020, when the pandemic spread around the world, the UN Secretary-General called for ‘peace at home’, and 146 member states responded with their strong declaration of commitment. In recent months, 135 countries have stepped up actions and resources to address violence against women as part of the response to COVID-19. Yet much more is needed.
Although the voices of activists and survivors today have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced or ignored, ending violence against women will require more investment, leadership and action. It cannot be done away with; it must be part of the national response of every country, especially during the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.
For the 16 days of activism, UN Women handed the microphone to survivors, activists and UN partners on the ground to tell the story of what happened after COVID-19 hit. Read and share stories, be inspired by activists who make a difference every day and find out how you can take action.
UN official anniversary of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women