Gender Violence Persists Around the World
Global AIDS Alliance executive director Dr. Paul Zeitz recently commended Secretary Hillary Clinton for her recent trip to Africa and at the same time urged her to examine the gender violence that persists around the world.
"We applaud Secretary Clinton's decision to visit Africa and her decision to focus attention during her visit on preventing conflict and violence, including gender-based violence, on the African continent," says Dr. Zeitz, who noted that violence against women and violence against children are issues in each of the countries she visited.
He adds that tens of thousands of women and girls have suffered systematic rape and torture in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since conflict there began in 1998. Liberia has a culture of sexual violence that is a carry-over from years of conflict there, and South Africa has one of the highest reported rates of rape in the world, coupled with one of the highest HIV rates in the world.
"As a U.S. Senator, Secretary Clinton was a co-sponsor of the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) in the last session of Congress, and she is thus well aware that gender-based violence occurs even in countries where there is no current conflict or war," said Zeitz. "Worldwide, one in three women will survive physical, sexual or emotional abuse in her lifetime. One in five will survive rape or attempted rape, and around 50% of female sexual assault survivors are 15 years or younger at the time of their attack. In addition, 10% of boys worldwide are sexually abused before they turn 18. In some countries, up to 50% of school children report having been physically or sexually abused while at school."
Violence against women and violence against children is considered a public health and human rights crisis of epidemic proportions. This violence also fuels the HIV/AIDS pandemic, both by hindering prevention efforts, including access to education, and by creating barriers to counseling, testing and treatment services.
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