Written by Nazlin Kanji, SI/SIA Director, Soroptimist International Simi Valley
I am honored to be the Soroptimist International/Soroptimist International of Americas Director (SI/SIA) for the 2020 year for Soroptimist International Simi Valley. This year is especially challenging due to the health and economic crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the pandemic has affected people in all aspects of their lives. COVID-19 has magnified the unfairness and inequality in every nation and in many areas hard-won progress for women and girls is being reversed.
Violence against women comes in many forms and has impacts on women and girls from pre-birth to old age. These range from intimate partner violence; sexual abuse by non-intimate partners; trafficking, forced prostitution, exploitation of labor; physical and sexual violence against prostitutes; sex selective abortion, female infanticide, female genital mutilation, elder abuse, child marriage and the deliberate neglect of girls; and rape in war.
There are many potential perpetrators, including spouses and partners, parents, other family members, neighbors, and men in positions of power or influence. The World Health Organization (WHO) listed the following key facts regarding Violence Against Women (not an exhaustive list):
Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one third (30%) of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime.
Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner.
Violence can negatively affect women’s physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health, and may increase the risk of acquiring HIV in some settings.
Men are more likely to perpetrate violence if they have low education, a history of child maltreatment, exposure to domestic violence against their mothers, harmful use of alcohol, unequal gender norms including attitudes accepting of violence, and a sense of entitlement over women.
Women are more likely to experience intimate partner violence if they have low education, exposure to mothers being abused by a partner, abuse during childhood, and attitudes accepting violence, male privilege, and women’s subordinate status.
Each of the issues listed above deserves discussion. We have decided to focus on some of the topics to discuss in-depth so we can bring awareness to our club. These issues align with our current Soroptimist International President’s appeal for the year 2019-2021 “The Road to Equality.” These topics include child marriage, FGM, Human Trafficking, migration, and domestic violence and the rights of older women.
Our goal is to cover each topic in depth every month, we will discuss the issues associated with each of the topics and highlight groups and organizations tackling those issues, starting with child marriage in November’s newsletter.
You can subscribe to our newsletter on our website if you are not currently a subscriber. Please visit us at www.soroptimistsv.org (subscription link at the bottom of our website).