I am passionate about making the world a better place – one article at a time. When I’m faced with an injustice, disaster or other issue that I can raise awareness of through an article – I’m all over it. This is one way I can DO something to help.
Through my work with a non-profit working internationally, I’ve done a lot of research into the plight of women worldwide. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to know how women suffer around the world, and their only fault is being born female.
And I know what you’re thinking – but that doesn’t happen in the USA or Canada. Really? I think you’d be surprised – I think many of us have chosen to remain ignorant of the facts. Because if you knew the reality, the brutality, the inequality – wouldn’t you then have to do something about it?
It’s not that bad…
Place a photo of a woman in your life you care deeply for – your wife, daughter, niece, mother or sister, next to your computer. Go ahead, do it. If you’re a woman perhaps these statistics won’t be so surprising – perhaps like me you are one of these statistics – perhaps she is or was herself, but really focus on the face in the photo. Imagine what she’s worth – what she brings to this world – does she deserve fewer opportunities, rights, freedoms, and status?
Women are more likely to be maimed or die from male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined. (womenforwomen.org)
Between 20 and 50 per cent of women have experienced physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner or family member. (UNICEF)
Estimates show that 1 in every 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. (United Nations)
Two million girls between ages 5 and 15 are introduced into the commercial sex market each year.
Every day, more than 10 girls are murdered by their own families, victims of ‘honour killings’ for perceived sexual misconduct or the ‘dishonour’ of having been raped. (UNFPA)
Girls as young as 13 (mainly from Asia and Eastern Europe) are trafficked as “mail-order brides.” (UNICEF)
Women still represent two-thirds of the world’s 759 million illiterates. (UNESCO)
Every day more than 1000 women die from complications of pregnancy. For every woman who dies, 20 or more are injured or disabled. (UNFPA)
Between 100 and 140 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to female genital mutilation… 91.5 million girls and women above 9 years old in Africa are currently living with the consequences of female genital mutilation… 3 million girls in Africa at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation every year. (WHO)
One woman kills herself every four minutes in China. Every year, 1.5 million Chinese women attempt suicide, with another 150,000 succeed in taking their own lives. [Women in China are 25% more likely to commit suicide than men] (China Facts)
In India the nation’s sex ratio had dropped over the past decade from 927 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 6 to 914…Such ratios are the result of abortions of female fetuses, or just sheer neglect leading to a higher death rate among girls. (Yahoo.com)
And lest you brush these numbers off as being skewed by third world countries – here’s some from closer to [my] home:
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, approximately 600 to 800 women and children are trafficked into Canada each year…Girls as young as 12 years old are being subjected to sexual exploitation by traffickers in Canada. (ECPAT)
Half of Canadian women have survived at least one incident of sexual or physical violence…Over a quarter (29%) of Canadian women have been assaulted by a spouse…A minimum of one million Canadian children have witnessed violence against their mothers by their fathers or father figures. In 52% of these cases, the mother feared for her life, and in 61%, the mother sustained physical injuries…40% of women with disabilities have been raped, abused or assaulted (CRIAW)
One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime…Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of injury to women. It affects 1-3 million women a year in the U.S., making it more common than muggings, stranger rapes and car accidents combined. (Department of Health)
Now it’s up to you. Find a local women’s shelter and donate your time, money or used clothing – make it a family project. Write an article. Post on Facebook, Twitter or G+ to raise awareness. Let’s pledge to teach our sons how to treat women respectfully, let’s teach our daughters to never settle for less than that. Find a non-profit or charity whose work you support and donate your time, money, or Facebook page. Most of all – don’t go about the rest of your day without thinking about the face in that photo. Is she worthy of respect, freedom, equality – life?
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” Bishop Desmund Tutu
What can you do to help? Do these numbers surprise you? Now what?