1 in 3 adolescent girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner (National Council on Crime and Delinquency, 2008). One in three of our daughters, nieces, sisters, babysitters, neighbors, classmates, friends – right here in the United States, yes right here! If that statistic doesn’t raise your blood pressure, I don’t know what will! We frequently hear the horrific stores of abuse and rape in war torn countries and countries in economic and political turmoil. But we can no longer continue to pretend that our young girls (as well as adult women and elderly women) are immune from these same travesties…
According to the United Nations, “Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime — with the abuser usually someone known to her. Perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today, it devastates lives, fractures communities, and stalls development.” The United Nations reports that only one country (Japan) had an intimate partner victimization rate of under 20% with the rest (including the US) ranging from 20% to a staggering 71% in Uthopia. (United Nations, 2010).
During Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, let’s work on educating others as well as ourselves as to the conditions, both international and local, that 51% of the world’s population faces – intimate partner violence. We have waited for centuries for someone else to “fix” this problem, the calvery is not coming. Every day folks like you and me, need to step up and take a stand against these horrific crimes. My HAVEN colleague, Cristy Cardinal, recently wrote that there is another statistic – one in one. One in One of us knows someone impacted by domestic and sexual violence and One in One of us can do something proactively or reactively to make a difference.
In her book, Powering Up! How America’s Women Achievers Become Leaders, Anne Doyle shares a message given to her by women leaders from other countries. “American women underestimate the ability and responsibility they have to help lift their global sisters throughout the world. When you rise, it helps us all rise.”