In 1999, the General Assembly of the UN declared November 25 an International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Up to 70% of women experience violence in their lifetime. This violence is not confined to a specific race, cultural, or country. Whether it’s domestic violence, forced marriage, “honor” killings, sex trafficking, rape, or rape as a weapon of war, women all over the world live with this reality. The costs are very high monetarily as well as in the social and moral consequences it has on our societies. In the US alone, the monetary cost of violence against women by intimate partners is estimated to exceed $5.8 billion dollars each year in medical, healthcare, and lost productivity.
For more information, click here to see the UN description of the situation. This is a short 2 page pdf document. A book that I highly recommend is Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl Wu Dunn. It is difficult to read in some places because of the subject matter, but is full of success stories and practical suggestions for how to help. Here is a link to the United Methodist Women action alert about the issue.
Tomorrow and the next day while enjoying Thanksgiving dinner and shopping (if you choose to go there on Friday), remember the women all over the world who are suffering discrimination and violence.