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Sixteen days

Maria Jose Cristerna, a Mexican tattoo artist said she started to cover her body in tattoos, piercings, titanium implants and dental fangs to re-invent herself as a vampire, her reaction after suffering domestic violence.

’16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence’ is a campaign by the United Nations to promote awareness and motivate people around the world to act towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls.  The ‘Days of Activism’ begin on November 25, the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women, and lasts until December 10, the International Human Rights Day.

A  report published by the UN Secretary General’s Campaign to End Violence among Women (UNITE) has some very disturbing news. According to data in the report published in 2011, up to 70 percent women experience violence in their lifetime. The most common form is physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner which means, women are beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused  by people or family members closest to them. In the US, one third of women murdered each year are killed by intimate partners. In India, 22 women were killed each day in 2007 in cases related to dowry.

According to data from the World Bank, women in the age group of 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, malaria and war.

Forced marriages increase the vulnerability of women to violence, including sexual violence. The practice of early marriage is also considered a form of sexual violence. In South Asia, 31.1 million girls are married before they turned 18, according to the report.

Domestic violence against women also includes honor killings, trafficking in persons and female genital mutilation.

Some countries have also assessed the economic costs incurred because of violence against women. Intimate partner violence has cost the US government a whopping 5.8 billion dollars each year, including health care and productivity losses. In the UK, the figure was about 23 billion pounds for 2004, including costs incurred due to pain and suffering.

What we can do:

Say No. Domestic violence has far-reaching consequences. It harms families and communities and most of the time, scars the victims and their family members for life.

Become aware. Learn more about domestic violence and prevent thousands of women from being murdered by their partners, beaten or otherwise physically and mentally abused.

Start a campaign, for example, promote online outreach and join UNITE’s efforts to prevent domestic violence. The website has a good range of web-based tools working to create awareness and prevent domestic violence. As an individual, you can create “actions” for a certain cause and generate support among your friends and families.


UNITE’s report can be accessed at You can write to us at or put your comments at the end of this blog.


30.11.2012 | 14:42