No matter where a woman may reside in the world, she may be most endangered at home, according to a new study by the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Released on Sunday in tandem with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the study found that more than half of last year’s female murder victims were killed by domestic partners or family members. Specifically, as reported by Time, “of 87,000 recorded female homicide cases last year, 50,000, or 58%, were committed by the victims’ intimate partners or family members. The toll equates to six women killed every hour, or 137 killed every day, by people they know.”
UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov commented on the study’s disheartening findings in a press release. He also told Agence France-Presse this: “Women continue to pay the highest price as a result of gender inequality, discrimination and negative stereotypes ... The fact that women continue to be affected by this type of violence to a greater degree than men is indicative of an imbalance in power relations between women and men inside the domestic sphere.”
While the plight of women worldwide is reflected in the report’s findings, Africa and the Americas are the areas where women are most at risk. As the study’s press release states, “In Africa, the rate was around 3.1 victims per 100,000 female population, while the rate in the Americas was 1.6 victims, in Oceania 1.3 and in Asia 0.9. The lowest rate was found in Europe, with 0.7 victims per 100,000 female population.”
What can be done to better protect women when progress on anti-violence legislation has stalled in recent years? Conclusions of the study encourage a push for “effective crime prevention and criminal justice responses to violence against women that promote victim safety and empowerment while ensuring offender accountability.”
The study also emphasizes the need for a coordinated effort between the criminal justice system, health and social services and, most important, the early education of men to become part of the solution rather than the cause.