Islamic woman
Momtaz, 16, a victim of an acid attack, participates in a protest against the recent public execution of a young woman, in Kabul, Afghanistan (Reuters/Omar Sobhani)

Statistics of abuse and neglect paint a grim picture

  • Around the world, at least one in three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her life.
  • The U.N. reported in 2009 that up to 40 percent of women throughout Latin America have been victims of physical violence.
  • Forced prostitution, sex trafficking and sex tourism are growing problems in many parts of the world. Each year, 80 percent of people trafficked across borders are women and girls, according to the U.N. Population Fund. Most of them end up in the commercial sex trade.
  • In Asia, 60 million girls are “missing” due to prenatal sex selection, infanticide or neglect. In China, young couples are allowed to have only one child, and boys are preferred. Baby girls are orphaned, thrown into rivers, left on doorsteps or abandoned in forests.
  • Female genital mutilation affects an estimated 130 million women and girls, mostly in Africa. Each year, 2 million more undergo the barbaric practice. 
  • Violence against women also takes the form of harmful practices such as child marriage and dowry-related violence (especially in India), acid burning (in some Muslim nations) and abandonment of widows.
  • In many Islamic countries women die from “honor killings.” If a woman dares to disagree with her husband or shows a hint of disrespect, he and other male relatives will bury her up to her waist and then stone her publicly. This practice is illegal, yet it’s estimated that 5,000 such killings take place every year. 
  • Guatemala has the world’s highest rate of unsolved murders of women. The number rose to 560 in 2005, Amnesty International reported, yet not one murderer was convicted. Many victims are tortured or mutilated.

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