Violence Against Women
In 1993, Rights and Humanity’s President joined WHO’s Global Commission on Women’s Health and was invited to serve on the Sub-Commission on Violence Against Women. She advocated ‘a health and human rights approach’ to combating violence against women.
Humiliating, intimidating and dominating, violence prevents women from enjoying their fundamental human rights. Consciously or unconsciously violence is used by some as a tool to control the behaviour of girls and women, restricting their freedom of expression and movement.
Violence Against Women: A Human Rights Concern
- Violence against women is a serious violation of the human rights to physical security, health, liberty and freedom from fear.
- It is global in scope, is self-perpetuating and is pervasive across socio-economic groups.
- No girl is too young and no woman too old to be free of the threat of violence.
Accurate and comparable data on violence against women is lacking, but in 1994, a review was made of studies in 35 countries around the globe on the prevalence of wife abuse. This review found that the prevalence of women reporting abuse by a male intimate, ranged from a low of 11.2% in one area of Canada, to a high of 75% in an area of India (L. Heise, World Bank, 1994).
European Strategies for Prevention
In 1995, Rights and Humanity was commissioned to undertake a study for the WHO’s Regional Office for Europe and to make recommendations for legal and other strategies for protecting women’s right to be free of violence. A summary of our findings was published by WHO in its newsletter Entre Nous.
We also presented our recommendations at a participatory workshop entitled Preventing and Redressing Domestic Violence Using a Health and Human Rights Approach, during a key international conference on Violence Against Women in Brighton, UK, November, 1996.
In 1998, Rights and Humanity was commissioned by WHO Headquarters to produce two documents for publication by WHO in connection with its Global Commission on WHO’s Health:
Summary of the International and Regional Human Rights Texts Relevant to the Prevention and Redress of Violence Against Women, compiled by Rights and Humanity project staff Ms Christine Fougére, Ms Eugenia Sidereas and Ms Sian Lazar
Annotated Bibliography on Violence Against Women: A Health and Human Rights Concern, produced by Rights and Humanity’s research team, in particular Ms Eugenia Sidereas.