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GCWA: Committed to end violence against women and girls

28 Nov, 2013

As the world observes the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - 25 November 2013 and the commencement of the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign - the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA), stands in solidarity with the countless victims and survivors of gender based violence, and with those who are committed to eliminate violence against girls and women.

These annual days of commemoration are a poignant reminder that gender-based violence is a pervasive and constant reality of every society, worldwide.  Globally, girls and women, have faced and continue to face extreme levels of violence including “violence by an intimate partner and rape/sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated by someone other than a partner (non-partner sexual violence), as well as female genital mutilation, honour killings and the trafficking of women.”   According to WHO, 1 in 3 women, worldwide will experience physical and/or sexual violence by a partner or non-partner.  An estimated 150 million girls under the age of 18 have experienced some form of sexual violence.   The consequences of violence, goes beyond the immediate and long term implications for the mental and physical well-being of the survivors of violence, it also severely impacts on the growth and development of communities and societies as a whole.

Gender inequality, including gender-based violence fuels the HIV epidemic amongst women and girls. Globally, 52% of all people living with HIV in low and middle income countries are women; in sub-Saharan Africa,   57% of those living with HIV are women. Young women, aged 15-24, are most vulnerable to HIV, and are twice as likely to be living with HIV as their male peers. The link between HIV and violence against women is increasingly recognized, supported by recent research which evidences a clear association between intimate partner violence and HIV. Women in Uganda (15–49 years) and South Africa (15–26 years) who had experienced intimate partner violence are 50% more likely to have acquired HIV than women who had not experienced violence.  In Latin America[1] the same linkages were identified.  At the same time, women living with HIV are vulnerable to sexual, physical and psychological violence. Research has found that in Tanzania, young women living with HIV were ten times more likely to report partner violence than women not living with HIV. 

As a global community we stand up in solidarity against gender based violence. The next 16 days provides powerful opportunity, for the global community including government to mobilise and spark off action to end all forms of gender based violence and break the cycle of the subjugation of girls and women in all their diversity -  moving beyond pledges to action


[1] Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.

FEIM. 2 sides of the epidemic. Violence against women and feminzation of the epidemic. 2010