Don’t be a bystander: Say No to Violence Against Women – Spring Campaign 2012

UN Women Australia today launched its Spring Campaign 2012 calling on individuals to not be bystanders to violence against women in their communities, workplaces, region and globally.

1 in 3 women worldwide will experience physical violence at some point in their lives and 1 in 5 women are victims of sexual violence in their lifetime. In Australia, violence against women was estimated to cost the economy $13.6 billion in 2008-9 and is estimated to reach over $15 billion by 2020.

As part of the Spring Campaign 2012 UN Women Australia is urging supporters to assist women and girls who experience violence by donating to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women.

Since its inception, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women has awarded $78 million in grants supporting 339 initiatives in 127 countries.

The launch of the Spring Campaign follows an announcement by the Australian Government last month that Australia will provide $6.7 million to support women in developing countries who had suffered violence or retribution such as acid attacks, rape and physical assault.

Australia’s contribution of $6.7 million over three years will go towards the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women commencing in the 2012-13 financial year.

Executive Director of UN Women Australia, Julie McKay said by funding local and national grantees, the UN Trust Fund affects real change in the lives of women who have experienced violence, and sends a strong message that violence against women is unacceptable and intolerable.

“Violence against women is a global emergency which affects women from all nationalities, in all areas of society, “ Ms McKay said.

“Gender-based violence not only has a devastating effect on the women and families involved, but has a flow on impact on the social and economic fabric of the communities and nations in which it occurs.

“A perception exists that violence against women is a private matter which does not warrant legal intervention or public scrutiny, however the responsibility falls on everyone to speak out against violence against women.

“Women in post-conflict countries such as Cambodia are in a particularly vulnerable situation, where violence against women is widely accepted and harmful traditional practices, such as underage marriage, are common.

“The UN Trust Fund supports local initiatives such as Youth Star Cambodia, whose volunteers educate members of their own community through diverse activities such as workshops, poster campaigns and role-plays, about harmful gender stereotypes and cultural norms that contribute to violence against women.”

Everyone has the ability to not be a bystander and to break the silence about violence against women.