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  • Gem Kirwan

16 Facts on Gender-Based Violence for the 16 Days of Activism

Illustrations by Megan Le Brocq

The 25th November until the 10th December marked the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence. Violence against women, which increases in times of crisis, is as prevalent an issue as ever both nationwide and globally:

1. A third of women worldwide will experience a form of gender-based violence in their lifetime.

2. In the UK, a woman is killed by a man every three days.

3. Three women are murdered by their partners every fortnight.

4. The online sphere is fast becoming an unsafe space for many women too: 45% of women under the age of 40 have experienced abuse online, and 10% of these cases culminate in physical threats.

Such statistics show the prevalence of gender-based violence within society, with the internet still worsening this crisis – particularly for women of colour. Furthermore, the pandemic left many trapped in isolation with their abusers, at greater risk of violence and without a support system as resources are more stretched than ever:

5. Bed spaces in refuge shelters for victims of domestic violence in the UK are 30% below the number recommended by the Council of Europe.

6. As a result of this startling lack of resources, last year, an alarming 64% of referrals to women’s refuge shelters were declined - leaving countless victims of gender-based violence even more vulnerable.

7. According to the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, “COVID-19 not only exposed the lack of preparedness… to deal with violence against women and girls, it also led to a significant rise of [it]”.

It is clear that countries worldwide are ill-equipped to combat violence against women, with the pandemic highlighting the severity of the problem and the need for change. And, without intrinsic flaws within the justice system being swiftly rectified, the “shadow pandemic” will continue to worsen:

8. Only 6.2% of domestic abuse allegations end in conviction.

9. When the person suspected of domestic abuse or gender-based violence is on the police force, this figure drops to 3.9%.

10. On average, four allegations of gender-based violence are raised against police officers every week nationwide.

11. However, less than a third of forces have impartiality measures put in place to ensure that claims brought against employees are handled fairly.

12. With this in mind, it comes as no shock that 83% of victims don’t have confidence in the Crown Prosecution Service to bring them justice.

With so many governments across the world remaining ambivalent to this problem, violence against women and girls will continue to thrive, and the majority of its perpetrators will continue to go unpunished. Across the world, women have fewer opportunities in terms of education, employment and social status, especially during times of crisis. This increases their chances of falling victim to exploitation:

13. Funding delays to campaigns against gender-based violence as a result of the pandemic will lead to an estimated two million additional cases of female genital mutilation over the next decade.

14. 650 million women alive today were child brides.

15. By 2030, an additional 150 million girls will marry before they reach adulthood.

16. Just one third of funding requested to tackled gender-based violence has actually been allocated.

The future looks bleak, with chronic underfunding limiting the scope of campaigns designed to end gender-based violence, and the pandemic exacerbating the inequalities women face across the globe. However, with the right resources and the right leaders committed to enacting change, we can work together to create a fairer society and stamp out gender-based violence once and for all. Campaigns like the 16 Days of Activism do much to highlight the prevalence of violence against women and girls, but they also bring us hope for a better, safer future.


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