More than half of all female homicide victims worldwide — 137 every day — were killed by a member of their own family last year, according to a new United Nations study.
Research published by the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) found that of the approximately 87,000 women and girls intentionally killed in 2017, about 58 percent died at the hands of someone who was either an "intimate partner" or a relative.
This amounts to six women being killed every hour by people they know, the report said. It was released Sunday to coincide with the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The campaign brought thousands of people to the streets of nations around the globe to raise awareness of gender-based violence.
Yury Fedotov, the UNODC's executive director, noted that while the vast majority of worldwide homicide victims are men — accounting for 8 out of 10 homicides in 2017 — women bear the greatest burden in terms of violence perpetrated by intimate partners.
In 2017, roughly 82 percent of victims of homicide perpetrated by intimate partners or family members were female. The corresponding figure for men: 18 percent.
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» The vast majority of men are killed by strangers.
"Women continue to pay the highest price as a result of gender inequality, discrimination and negative stereotypes," Fedotov said. "Targeted criminal justice responses are needed to prevent and end gender-related killings," he added.
The study notes that even though "countries have taken action to address violence against women and gender-related killings in different ways, by adopting legal changes, early interventions and multi-agency efforts, as well as creating special units and implementing training in the criminal justice system ... there are no signs of a decrease in the number of gender-related killings of women and girls."
The global average, 1.3 female homicide victims per 100,000 female population, has been stable for more than half a decade. However, there are regional variations.
Africa and the Americas were the regions where women are most at risk of being killed by intimate partners or family members, the study found. In Africa, the rate was around 3.1 victims per 100,000 female population. In the Americas, it was 1.6 victims. The lowest rate was found in Europe, with 0.7 victims per 100,000 female population.
In Madrid on Sunday, demonstrators chanted "No more victims!" as they marched through the center of Spain's capital city. In Istanbul, police fired several rounds of tear gas at protesters during an event against domestic violence. There were also marches and rallies in support of women's right in Greece, France and Italy.
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During a diplomatic summit in Brussels over the weekend, Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, smeared red make-up under his eye in a symbolic act intended to express empathy with women. "Violence against women is unacceptable. I learned this from my mother and I'm teaching it to my children," he later tweeted.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement.
"Gender-based violence harms us all. It affects families, schools, and workplaces – and holds back whole communities from reaching their full potential," he said.
The UN is sponsoring 16 days of activism aimed at eliminating violence against women. Among its suggestions: Listen to survivors.
"In the era of #MeToo, #TimesUp, #NiUnaMenos and other online movements, survivors of violence are speaking out more than ever before, and it's time to listen," it said in a statement promoting its campaign that runs through Dec. 10.
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