On this day, we mark the International Day for the Elimination for Violence against Women and the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.
We commit to fighting the horrifying scourge of gender-based violence, which continues to afflict our communities and devastate potential for women and girls globally. Harmful gender and social norms – exacerbated by conflict, economic inequality, and climate change- continue to be perpetuated across the world.
Even though women were on the frontline of the response, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unimaginable setbacks for women and girls, including greatly enhanced risk of child, early, and forced marriage for millions of young girls, and spikes in intimate-partner and sexual violence. And in the United States, intimate-partner violence persists – we saw an extraordinary rise in gender-based violence during the lockdown, with women and girls from underrepresented communities disproportionately impacted.
In 2022, one in five girls will be married before reaching age 18 and one in three women will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetimes. The message is abundantly clear – the international community must do much more to eliminate gender-based violence over the next decade.
After the death of Mahsa Amini, we listened to harrowing stories of how the morality police violated the human rights of brave Iranian women and girls who risked their lives to object to injustice. In Afghanistan, we have seen images of brutal beatings of women and girls who want simply to obtain an education, and to help their families, communities, and country prosper.
On this important day, the U.S. stands in solidarity with the brave women and girls, both domestically and around the globe, who fight daily to live a life free from the destructive threat of violence.
We will recommit our efforts to addressing this human rights abuse with the forthcoming update to the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally. Here at the United Nations, the United States is working to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in humanitarian contexts, to ensure survivors’ access to health services, and promote accountability and justice for conflict-related sexual violence.
Our mandate to end gender-based violence is now more important than ever. Let’s stand together to renew our commitments and redouble our efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in all its forms.