Though the #metoo campaign has brought to light the stories of hundreds of women around the world who have been sexually assaulted, the figures published by the UN in honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women reveal that not hundreds but millions of women have endured some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.


Illustration Photo Credit: Katarzyna Białasiewicz, 123RF/ Channel 2 News

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is being celebrated worldwide today (Saturday) as the global social media campaign #metoo continues to gain momentum. To mark the important day, the United Nations published worrisome data that revealed just how widespread a phenomenon violence against women is around the world.

According to the data, 35% of the world’s women have experienced physical or sexual violence. According to some national surveys, however, the numbers report that 70% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a sexual partner during their lifetime. About 120 million girls around the world, almost one in ten, have experienced rape or some other form of sexual assault at some point in their lives.

According to the UN’s publication, violence against women is a widespread phenomenon that exists in every society and culture across the globe. According to the data, 43% of women in the European Union have endured forms of psychological violence by their partners.

“We note the momentum already created by the #MeToo movement,” said Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “This moment has exposed how men in authority can become serial perpetrators…It also exposed how frightening it is for young women and young men to come to the front to expose those predators, because there is always the chance that they will not be believed. And it exposed how a culture of entitlement, where there are no consequences for sexual crimes, has left many women tormented in silence.” 

In the United States, more than one in four  women in Washington DC reported experiencing sexual harassment on public transportation, 65 percent of women in the US testified that they experienced harassment of some kind on the street, and 23 percent testified that they had experienced sexual harassment in the street. In general, in North America, one in four women will experience sexual harassment in her life.

Almost half of the women who were killed in 2012 were killed by either partners or family members, compared to 6% of men. Approximately 120 million girls around the world, about 1 in 10, have been forced into sexual acts or intercourse- most commonly by current or former partners.

In Britain, 64% of women reported having experienced sexual harassment; in Brazil, the number reached 86%, with 84% of women testifying that they were victims of sexual harassment by law enforcement officials. In Egypt no less than 99% testified that they were sexual harassed.