Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement in Berlin on 25 November to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:
I am deeply appalled that women and girls continue to suffer abuse, rape, mutilation and murder on a daily basis – this is a global phenomenon and one of the greatest health risks to women the world over. In the past twelve months, 16.7 million women in the European Union fell victim to physical and/or sexual violence. A third (33 percent) of all women have suffered physical and/or sexual violence by the time they reach the age of 15. This is most often inflicted by partners or ex-partners and in their homes.
This is an unacceptable state of affairs, both for us in Europe as well as in other places in the world. Attaching a taboo and stigma to the issue of violence against women must stop! A life free from violence is not only desirable, it is a human right.
It is the duty of the entire international community to protect women from violence and to bring perpetrators to justice. The German Government works to eliminate violence against women and to help women protect their rights. We must not allow women to be subject to violence. I am thus wholeheartedly committed to the international fight against impunity.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately one third of women and girls in the world are subject to violence. This comprises not only domestic or sexual violence but also other forms of violence, such as female genital mutilation and human trafficking. However, the violence is predominantly perpetrated within relationships. All forms of violence have lasting effects on a person’s physical, sexual and reproductive health. This leads to long-term social and economic costs for society as a whole.