THIS is 2012; roughly three and half years from the 2015 deadline for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal on gender parity. One has to wonder if the deadline is realistic as barbaric cases of patriarchal violence continue to be senselessly meted on women and their children.
Worse still, the unreported cases are more than the reported ones. Here are some facts about violence against women in the world:
The United Nations Development Fund for Women estimates that at least one of every three women globally will be beaten, raped, or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In most cases, the abuser is a member of her own family.
Sexual violence is a pervasive global health and human rights problem. In some countries, approximately one in four women and girls over age 15 may experience sexual violence by an intimate partner at some points in their lives, and rates of sexual abuse by non-partners range from one to 12 percent over the course of a woman’s lifetime.
A 2005 World Health Organization study found that of 15 sites in ten countries – representing diverse cultural settings – the proportion of ever-partnered women who had experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetime ranged from 15 percent in Japan to 71 percent in Ethiopia. At least one in five women reporting physical abuse had never before told anyone about it.
In the same study, four to 12 percent of women who had been pregnant reported having been beaten during pregnancy, and more than half of these women had been kicked or punched in the abdomen during pregnancy. Women who reported physical or sexual violence by a partner were also more likely to report having had at least one induced abortion or miscarriage than women who did not report abuse.
The ghastly April 8, 2012 incident of a man in Lagos, Nigeria, who killed his own one year old son and burned his wife with a hot iron while using a screw driver to tear her body, may have escaped the attention of many. The reason? A wild allegation that she was having sex with his father!
In January this year, women in Malawi’s Blantyre capital were under attack from vendors for wearing trousers. At least, the late president Bingu wa Mutharika came to their rescue.
The clock ticks fast as the 2015 gender parity attainment deadline stealthily approaches. Something should be done.