Violence Against Women is a Universal Concern

Message by Dr. Kerim

Violence is not an expression of strength. Rather, it is an inferior behavior stemming from weakness and distorted values on the essence of life.

Twenty-two years have passed since the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women was adopted by the UN General Assembly as a basic framework and action plan in communities worldwide, yet more than 1 out of 3 women around the world still experience physical, psychological or sexual abuse.

Violence against women affects everyone because it disrupts the very fiber of our societies, it stunts progress and development. Gender equality is not a mere concept; it is a right, a basic human right that is consistently being denied to a vast segment of humanity.

We witness women being used as commodities, bought and sold in the form of early marriage and trafficking. We hear of sexual violence being perpetrated against women and girls. Unspeakable acts of female subjugation, torture and femicides are the reality for millions of women around the world. In regions of turmoil, kidnapping and assaulting women have become another weapon of warfare. Young girls suffer deplorable acts of cruelty. It must stop.

We must speak up, louder and more firmly than ever, so that everyone may hear us. Both men and women need to work together, as allies in this fight. It is a fight to create better communities for our future generations and loved ones; it is a fight to allow our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters to gain respect, dignity and equality.

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women with all of its supporting agencies and partners, remains a significant anchor and advocate for the eradication of gender discrimination and sexual violence. We all need to join their efforts.

Violence against women is not a women’s issue, it is a universal concern. Women’s empowerment is empowerment for humankind. Let us all be a part of this movement, for raising awareness and creating a world with no divisions.

Because every human life matters equally.


25 November 2015

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe