One in three women worldwide who have ever been in a relationship will experience violence by their intimate partner at some point in their lives.

Source: UN Women

A story of survival

To: My love

My love
Writing
Best friend
Let me know
Friend
Ok, see you
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»
Where are you?
10:18
HELLO?
10:18
Sorry. On my way home
10:21
Did you take my charger? I TOLD you a million times not to touch my things
10:21
No. Sorry. I didn’t touch anything
10:22
Where did YOU put my charger? GET HOME NOW
10:22
Yesterday
Dinner had better be ready when I get home
17:22
Okay
17:25
My new boss gave me hell, it’s all your fault
17:45
I didn’t get enough sleep and messed up
17:52
I’m sorry
17:52
Don’t nag me with your stupid problems tonight
17:53
Today
I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you
9:06
Please don’t be mad at me
9:06
Where are you? I just lost my temper. Give me a break
9:12
I wanted to relax but you kept bothering me about your IMPORTANT job
9:13
I know, I’m sorry
9:22
I wouldn’t have hit you, but you deserved it. You’re lucky to have someone like me
9:44
Crying woman

49 countries lack laws protecting women from domestic violence

To: Friend

Friend
Writing
My love
I hate you...
Mom
Call me later
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»
Is everything okay?
10:01
You haven’t been at work in 4 days…The boss said you were in the hospital?
10:01
Can you talk? Did it happen again? You need to call the cops
10:01
Tried. Didn’t help. They don’t care
10:35
Tell me everything. Please.
I really want to help you
10:36
Broke 5 ribs. Fractures.
He just started hitting me. Blamed me for talking too much and making him late for work
11:05
Maybe it is my fault. If I wasn’t so chatty, he wouldn’t have gotten in trouble with his boss
11:05
map
OMG no. You have to leave! NOW! I read about that new family center
11:05
I called them. Spoke to this social worker. PLEASE CALL HER!
11:07
contact card
Social worker

Address, cell, url

He’s going to find out! I can’t!
11:07
This isn’t the first time he’s done this to you! I looked at what you need to leave. Here’s a checklist:
11:07
checklist
What if I don’t have all these?
13:16
Get as many as you can
13:17
He’s never going to let me go! It’ll make things worse. He said if I call the police again, he’ll make sure I’m dead before they get here
13:18
You can do this. It won’t get better unless you leave him
13:18

Less than 40% of women who experience violence seek help of any sort.

Among women who do, most look to family and friend. Very few look to formal institutions and mechanisms, such as police and health services.

Source: The World’s Women 2015, Trends and Statistics *
*In the majority of countries with available data.

Runaway woman

To: Social worker

Social worker
Writing
My love
Where are you?
Friend
Be safe!
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»
Look for a blue car by the corner store. We’ll take you to the safe house
8:01
But what if he finds me?
8:02
He won’t find you. We provide full confidentiality. He won’t be able to hurt you again
8:02
When the coast is clear, remember to turn off your GPS and Wi-Fi before you leave. Everything is going to be alright
8:05
I’m not sure this is such a good idea
8:07
You can do it. Be brave. We’ll be there for you
8:07
Just texted to make sure he’s at work. I’m leaving the house now. I’ll be at there in 10 minutes
8:29
Opened door

Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner. Violence is preventable. Community support is crucial in the early moments when a woman leaves the cycle of violence.

Source: 2017 Fact Sheet
World Health Organization

Meet some survivors and challengers of domestic violence

Contact with a domestic violence counselor and leaving the abusive situation is just the beginning of a long journey for women caught in a cycle of violence.

These brave women and men have either made the first step for themselves, or are addressing the roots of domestic violence (through UNDP-supported projects across the world).

Meet some survivors and challengers of domestic violence

Contact with a domestic violence counselor and leaving the abusive situation is just the beginning of a long journey for women caught in a cycle of violence.

These brave women and men have either made the first step for themselves, or are addressing the roots of domestic violence (through UNDP-supported projects across the world).

Sunita, a member of the local women’s network Sneha
"I had started thinking that beatings are a part of married life." Sunita, a member of the local women’s network Sneha
René Holder-McClean-Ramirez, Co-Director of Equals Inc. and Chair of Eastern Caribbean Alliance of Diversity and Equality
"I don’t think we realise the impact this has on a person’s development…in maintaining relationships, to be able to work effectively, to learn effectively, to navigate life effectively." René Holder-McClean-Ramirez, Co-Director of Equals Inc. and Chair of Eastern Caribbean Alliance of Diversity and Equality
Sordas Sin Violencia
"If [survivors] comprehend their rights and feel that they are receiving an adequate treatment from these services, then they will seek more assistance and legal aid." Sordas Sin Violencia
Aiman Umarova, a human rights defender, lawyer and investigator in law enforcement
"I will fight for the rights of women and girls until they cease to be ‘second class’ in society." Aiman Umarova, a human rights defender, lawyer and investigator in law enforcement
Roselyne, a paralegal
"Sometimes I have to walk up to 25 km to meet a survivor…Everyone in my community knows I help survivors, and harbor them while they wait for the trial or because their family rejects them." Roselyne, a paralegal
Lieutenant Colonel Wafa Muammar, Head of Civil Police Family and Juvenile Protection Unit
"My message is never be silent...Speak up, because silence is the aggressor’s weapon that drives him to carry on with his aggression." Lieutenant Colonel Wafa Muammar, Head of Civil Police Family and Juvenile Protection Unit

How UNDP works with the SDGs to end violence against women

Intimate partner violence is never just a private matter. Violence affects society’s human development potential. Households experiencing violence create a direct impact on people in the community. This violence impedes health, education, gender rights, women’s right to work and earn equal pay for equal work, and other basic needs outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNDP works in nearly 170 countries and territories to end all forms of gender-based violence. Eliminating this violence is central to our development mandate.

Together with UN partners, we provide advice and support to countries to adopt and enforce laws and policies addressing and preventing all forms of violence against women and girls.

We work to ensure that gender-based violence survivors can access legal, economic and social services to ensure they can rebuild their lives. We support changing the gender perspectives in the police and military to properly address and respond to gender-based violence.

We also work with partners on the creation of policies and infrastructure that can deter violent behaviors and attitudes. Prevention, especially to prevent a point where the violence escalates, is vital.

By 2019, the number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion users. As global movements mobilize technology to create social change, UNDP has been utilising both mobile-based and technologies to contribute to ending violence against women and girls.

By working towards the Sustainable Development Goals, communities can prevent and better respond to gender based violence. At its root, violence is the uneven distribution of power and control by one group over another. By addressing the roots of inequality, societies can ensure that all people facing violence know their rights, have awareness of and access to laws, services, and have full confidence in the law to exercise their rights.

With stronger and more inclusive institutions, women can access the protection and justice they deserve; economic opportunities empower women to leave threatening situations; and gender equality and equity will help eliminate the power disparity in our societies and the abuse of this power.

How to take action

How to take action

Have you been affected by violence, discrimination, intimidation or abuse? Whether you have experienced violence yourself or are concerned about somebody else, there are many services available to support you.

If you are a young person, don’t forget you can talk to a trusted adult or friend about the issue, and seek further support and assistance through your local youth organization or school.

You can learn more about the issue by visiting the UN Women, UNFPA and UNDP websites.

  1. Recognize the signs of abuse
  2. If you want to donate, please contact your local women’s shelter to ask about the types of donations they’re most in need of.
  3. Friends, family, colleagues, religious leaders and community members all play a role in preventing the escalation of violence and addressing the root causes, behaviors and cultural attitudes.
  4. Contact the Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls
  5. Visit the International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies
  6. Visit Child Helpline International

To eliminate violence against women we need the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With stronger and more inclusive institutions (SDG16), women can access the protection and justice they deserve; economic opportunities (SDG 8) empower women to leave threatening situations; and gender equality and equity (SDG 5, SDG 10) will help eliminate the power disparity in our societies and the abuse of this power.