UN chief calls for end to violence against women

March 6th, 2009 - 2:04 pm ICT by IANS  

United Nations, March 6 (Xinhua) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has reiterated his call to bring an end to violence against women, a scourge whose impact is devastating and immeasurable, as the United Nations began a series of events to mark International Women’s Day.
“It is sometimes said that women are weavers and men are too often warriors,” Ban said in an address to the commemoration of the day, observed annually March 8, in New York.

“Women bear and care for our children. In much of the world they plant the crops that feed us. They weave the fabric of our societies,” he said. “Violence against women is thus an attack on all of us, on the foundation of our civilization.”

He added that violence against women is an “abomination” and stands against everything in the UN charter.

The secretary-general, who last year launched a global campaign called “Unite to End Violence Against Women”, cited statistics of one in five women worldwide suffering from rape or attempted rape, while in some nations, up to one in three women are beaten or abused.

He recently visited the Democratic Republic of Congo, where at a hospital, he met an 18-year-old woman who had been brutally and violently abused by four soldiers at gunpoint.

Not only is she bearing physical injuries, “she also bears the curse of stigma”, having been shunned by her family and village “from a false sense of shame”, Ban said.

“The consequences of violence go beyond the visible and immediate,” he said, adding that death, injury, medical costs and lost employment are only a small facet of the larger problem.

He also underscored the importance of men speaking out against the scourge, teaching each other that “real men don’t hit women, let alone rape them”.

He appealed for greater cooperation to end violence against women, emphasising that “the time to change is now”.

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