UNiTE! Ending violence against Women and Girls
In a world that has seen incredible leaps forward in Womens’ Rights throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries, it is disturbing to see evidence of erosion of those rights, and continuing statistical increases in violence against women and girls around the globe.
There may be a multitude of reasons for this, but those reasons are less important than the fact it is happening and that it should be stopped.
Instances of the rollback of womens’ rights, as noted in the United Nations’ #Pushforward video campaign, are happening everywhere. The Roe v Wade Supreme Court ruling that now puts the lives of women and girls at risk in the US, especially those already traumatised by sexual assault, is just one international example among many.
Closer to home one of the most disturbing trends against womens’ and girls’ rights, is the staggering increase in sexual assault victims. A 2022 Australian Bureau of Statistics report shows a 13% increase in victims of sexual abuse compared to the previous year.
While the majority of all sexual assault victims were female at 86%, the group with the highest victimisation rate, at eight times that of any other age group, was girls aged 10-17. Just think about that statistic for a moment. The vast majority of all sexual assault victims in Australia are still carrying their lunch box to school in a backpack each day.
And this picture is repeated over and over in Australian studies and statistics. For instance, the Queensland Police Service annual review shows that 57% of all sexual assault victims were under the age of 18, with 48% being under 16 and 38% being aged 0-14.
Horrific as these statistics are, it’s important to remember that this isn’t just a one-off assault on girls. As the survivors that we support would tell you, the abuse event is just the very beginning. The trauma that results from this abuse lasts a lifetime for these victims, impacting so many aspects of their existence.
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, and whilst violence of any nature is unacceptable, sexual violence against children, especially girls, continues to escalate in alarming proportions across the globe, harming innocent victims well beyond the incidences themselves.
ICMEC Australia chooses every day to UNiTE! and #Pushforward with our partners and collaborators to end child sexual violence.