Today is a special day: It’s the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls. And this day, like many November 25ths before, kicks off 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

As IOGT International, we have been joining this United Nations campaign for many years. Our Member Organizations have conducted local events, have issued press releases and held meetings.

This year, the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign runs under the theme ”Orange the world: end violence against women and girls.” Awareness of alcohol harm and alcohol policy measures can play a powerful role in helping to end gender-based violence.

The period from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10, Human Rights Day, is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls on communities, activists and civil society around the world to come together.

IOGT International and its Member Organizations are answering Ban Ki-moon’s call and step to help orange communities worldwide.

Our global movement of heart-driven community leaders and activists is proud to join the United Nations in this crucial day and age to help inspire freedom for women and girls. Together we are mobilizing in communities around the world to help orange the world through raising awareness of alcohol harm and advocating for alcohol policy implementation,” explains Kristina Sperkova.

Evidence shows that alcohol is a major risk factor for violence against women.

The Sustainable Development Goals address alcohol in Goal 3, target 3.5. The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health 2016-2030 addresses alcohol policy, namely in recommending alcohol taxation to mobilize sufficient and sustainable resources.

And World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have launched a joined project – that we are part of – to integrate policy responses to infectious diseases, gender-based violence and the harmful use of alcohol.

Globally, one out of three women will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with rates of abuse reaching 70% in some countries.

Seen with the eyes of women and girls, the world we live in has an alcohol problem.

Up to 80% of violence against women and girls can be alcohol related.

  • In the United Kingdom, 88% of cases of domestic violence involving dual perpetration are alcohol related.
  • In Argentina, 68% of cases of domestic violence are alcohol related.
  • Focus group discussions in rural Rwanda regularly rank alcohol as number one risk factor fueling domestic violence.
  • About 65% of women experiencing intimate partner violence in countries like South Africa, India, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe report alcohol use by the perpetrator.
  • In Brazil, 70% of cases of intimate partner violence (IPV) are alcohol related.
  • The economic costs of intimate partner violence in the United States amount $12.6 billion yearly, where perpetrators where under the influence of alcohol in 55% of IPV cases.

Alcohol fueled violence and harassment make public space unsafe for women and girls.

I don’t think that alcohol policy measures are a silver bullet. But I am convinced that they are important tools in a comprehensive approach to end the epidemic of violence against women.

And we in IOGT International are promoting this approach and are empowering decision-makers to find sustainable, high-impact and cost-effective answer to this grave challenge of our times.

It is in this spirit that I’m so proud to write:

In the coming 16 days, as part of the global United Nations campaign, our members will move heaven and earth to get the message across to local and national leaders: we must take urgent action to end violence against women and alcohol policy measures are a powerful tool to help inspire freedom for women and girls.

For further reading:

IOGT International Inspire Freedom – together for women and girls campign

Sustainable Development Goal 3: ”Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”

Target 3.5: “Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol”

WHO and UNDP joint project ”Strengthening and integrating national policies and programmes addressing gender-based violence, harmful use of alcohol and infectious diseases”

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