Prevent violence against women

places around the world lit orange.

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The Issue

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A staggering one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime—a pandemic of global proportions. Unlike an illness, however, perpetrators and even entire societies choose to commit violence—and can choose to stop. Violence is not inevitable. It can be prevented. But it’s not as straightforward as eradicating a virus. There is no vaccine, medication or cure. And there is no one single reason for why it happens.

As such, prevention strategies should be holistic, with multiple interventions undertaken in parallel in order to have long-lasting and permanent effects. Many sectors, actors and stakeholders need to be engaged. More evidence is emerging on what interventions work to prevent violence—from community mobilization to change social norms, to comprehensive school interventions targeting staff and pupils, to economic empowerment and income supplements coupled with gender equality training.

Prevention is the 2015 theme of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November and of the UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign’s 16 days call for action. This year, at the official commemoration at UN Headquarters in New York, the first UN Framework on Preventing Violence against Women will be launched and discussed (ECOSOC Chamber; 10 a.m.–12 noon). This document stems from the collaboration of seven UN entities: UN Women, ILO, OHCHR, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA and WHO. The framework develops a common understanding for the UN System, policymakers and other stakeholders on preventing violence against women and provides a theory of change to underpin action.

16 days to “Orange the world”

Orange the world

From 25 November through 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence aim to raise public awareness and mobilizing people everywhere to bring about change. This year, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign invites you to “Orange the world,” using the colour designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolize a brighter future without violence. Organize events to orange streets, schools and landmarks! Read our Toolkit ; See our poster.

Events this year have already included: a benefit concert for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women set against an orange stage at Carnegie Hall in New York, and the lighting of the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands. Orange events are planned in more than 70 countries around the world ahead of and throughout the 16 days. They will include the orange lighting of major landmarks like Niagara Falls (Canada/USA), the Maiden Tower (Istanbul), the European Commission building (Belgium) and the Council of Europe building (France), the archeological ruins at Petra (Jordan), the Presidential Palace in Brasilia (Brazil), and the Palais de Justice (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Other events planned range from the ‘oranging’ of bus stops in Timor-Leste, to marathons in Venezuela, to spontaneous orange flash mobs in Indonesia. Read more »

Snapshots of orange events in 2015

Snapshots of orange events in 2014

#orangeurhood around the world

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Voices against Violence

Speeches and statements

Executive Director's statement

In her statement to mark this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says “if we all work together: governments, civil society organizations, the UN system, businesses, schools, and individuals mobilizing through new solidarity movements, we will eventually achieve a more equal world—a Planet 50-50—where women and girls can and will live free from violence”. Read her statement »
[Also available in Russian]

News and coverage


Human impact stories

Ending violence against women is one of the key priorities of multiple UN Women programmes and advocacy around policy change. UN Women also manages the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign on behalf of the UN system, as well as the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, supports widespread social mobilization through its Say NO – UNiTE social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter, and has co-developed a non-formal curriculum on preventing violence, aimed for girls ages 5 through 25. These human impact stories provide a snapshot of our work:

Artist Alketa Xhafa-Mripa chose skirts and dresses to represent survivors and bring discussions of conflict-related sexual violence to the public's attention.

Dressing up a soccer stadium for survivors in Kosovo
As the country moves to break the silence around conflict-related sexual violence, a public art installation aims to raise awareness and combat stigma for survivors.

Unal Kurtal, one of the fathers participating at ACEV's training, with his youngest daughter during a trip organized by the participants of his father's support group in Turkey in 2012. Photo: Mother Child Foundation (ACEV).

Fatherhood training to end discrimination against women in Turkey
A civil society organization’s ‘fatherhood programme’, supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, has reached more than 2,000 fathers through discussion-based men-only assemblies in schools across six provinces. Its aim: to prevent domestic violence by involving men as allies and promoting gender equality and sensitivity among fathers.

Kosovo-Survivors of conflict 300x200

Survivor of conflict-related sexual violence speak out in Kosovo and get Government action
As the UN Security Council marks the 15th anniversary of the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325, we showcase how survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in the Western Balkans come out of the shadows and speak out against human rights violations of women in conflict.

Join the conversation

End violence against women twibbon mock-up.

Orange your profile picture to show your support!

Join the conversation and Orange the World in 16 Days on social media! Hashtags: #orangetheworld and #16days

Join the ‘Orange the World’ Event page on Facebook and post photos and actions happening in your country during the 16 Days of Activism.

Orange your Facebook wall, Instagram and Twitter accounts with a variety of images, banners and promotional material. 

A social media package with sample messages in English, Spanish and French will be available here.


Follow us

@sayno_unite, @unwomeneca, @phumzileunwomen on Twitter
Say NO - UNiTE, UN Women Europe and Central Asia on Facebook
UN Women Europe and Central Asia on Flickr