United Nations Secretary General’s campaign “UNiTE to end violence against women” brings yet another awareness day for public to realize, understand, reflect and hopefully also act to eliminate violence against women and girls.
To commemorate, acknowledge or highlight a problem, UN usually choose a day that is emphasized annually but not in this case. The 25th of each (!) month will be orange to remind the citizens of this planet the severity of the current situation and encourage them to change the behavior for the better. IOGT International supports this initiative and has an ambition, on every 25th of each month; mark the day both visually (check this blog or our Facebook page on 25th) and by bringing information on gender related violence linked to alcohol use.
Up to 70% of women experience violence in their lifetime. Women between 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria according to World Bank data.
IOGT International’s sees a frequently present actor, which is alcohol use and the role it plays in violent acts. For example in Estonia 70% of all violent crimes are alcohol related. In England and Wales, 58% of all sex offences and rape are alcohol related. In Iceland 71% of cases of domestic violence are attributed to alcohol use. Alcohol use is estimated to be a causal factor in 16% of child abuse and neglect. In Mexico, every second woman has suffered violence at the hands of her partner. Two thirds of the cases involve alcohol use.
Alcohol is seldom a sole explanation for the use of violence, but it’s strikingly often the triggering factor. Alcohol use creates a context for violent acts. It is often used as excuse for otherwise socially unacceptable behavior. In addition to that, alcohol culture amplifies common belief of superiority of males over females and it justifies male demonstration of power over the other gender.
To solve the problem, we need to revise our cultures and all together work on a change. Let be the orange day a reminder for all of us to take a little action which will bring us closer to the end of violence against women.
Empower women, appoint a female leader, question your local policies, be a role model – there are as many ways for individuals as for organizations. Let me know, by leaving a comment in this blog, about what you have done so we can share on each 25th and learn from each other to become stronger and better at creating dignifying living conditions.
For further reading:
IOGT International has published a booklet “Alcohol in gender zoom” where some statistics mentioned in the text above come from. Besides that, you can read more facts summarized in short texts accompanied by interesting examples from various countries. Easy to read, hard to forget!
Follow twitter discussions under #OrangeDay #ViolenceAgainstWomen