More than half of the world’s murdered women in 2017 were killed by their mate or family members, making home “the most dangerous place for a woman,” according to the UN study “Global Study on Homicide: Gender-related killing of women and girls”.
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
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.