Violence affects the lives of millions of women and girls in all socio-economic classes around the world. It cuts across cultural and religious barriers and takes a variety of forms, from domestic abuse and rape to child marriages and female circumcision.
Violence against women is largely unreported. Fear and stigma often prevent women from reporting incidents of violence or seeking assistance. In fact, 55-95 percent of women who have been physically abused by their partners have never contacted the police, NGOs or shelters.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
In December 1999, at their 54th Session, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring November 25th the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls.
This was in recognition of the magnitude of the problem and the urgent need for serious commitment by the world community to make finding solutions a key priority.
The commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women has become an organizing strategy to call attention to gender-based violence and to catalyze better resources to combat it.
This year, WFP celebrates this event in solidarity with the United Nations' global efforts to end violence against women and girls and also supports the UN Secretary General's intensified campaign to end violence against women - UNITE to End Violence Against Women - which was launched in February 2008.
WFP food assistance protects women
How does WFP address violence against women and girls?
Food assistance as a direct protection tool. Extreme poverty often forces women and girls to resort to negative survival mechanisms such as transactional sex. Food assistance often prevents women and girls from resorting to these harmful practices.
Empowering girls through education. WFP school feeding programmes support girls in school, reducing their exposure to violence and helping them develop life skills necessary for the enjoyment of their rights.
Supporting victims of violence. WFP's food assistance provides a safety net to victims of rape and abduction. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, WFP's food rations allow hospitalized victims sufficient recovery time before returning to their communities.
Implementing a Zero-Tolerance Policy to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse WFP has established specific management responses - including Executive Director's Circulars and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse focal points - in field offices.
Building staff capacity on protection. WFP supports Country Offices to analyze protection challenges - including gender-based violence and sexual exploitation abuses faced by beneficiaries, and to develop responses to these challenges.