From Outrage To Action: Disturbing Numbers In August

By Vanessa Onyema | Sep 11, 2023

In July, the internet was abuzz with a surge in reports of violence against women and girls, flooding social media platforms. Between July 1st and July 31st, Document Women noted a staggering total of 101 cases of gender-based violence that had been reported worldwide. Shockingly, the United States led with 55 reports, followed by India with 9.

However, as August arrived, there was an eerie silence surrounding these femicide reports worldwide. This silence did not signify a lack of such reports but revealed how such distressing news has normalized, resulting in diminished outrage and minimal awareness.

As we asked in July, "Can women, regardless of age, ever escape gender-based violence? Can they find justice even in death? Why do those who commit these heinous acts continue to roam freely without being held accountable for their actions?"

Between August 1st and August 31st, a staggering total of 111 cases of gender-based violence were reported worldwide. The United States led with 67 reports, followed by India with 21. As recorded in July, intimate partner violence emerged as the most prevalent form, impacting women aged 0 to 92. UN Women estimates that 736 million women—nearly one-third of all women aged 15 and older—have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at some point in their lives.

In 2018, one in every seven women (13 per cent of women aged 15 to 49) reported having experienced physical and sexual violence from an intimate partner or husband in the previous 12 months. It is indicated that these figures do not account for the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased the risk factors for violence against women.

Most of the horrifying cases of gender-based violence reported in the United States were murder-suicides, women killed while pregnant, women killed in front of their children and women who were killed together with their children by their husbands or estranged partners.

In Nigeria, a man murdered his girlfriend by tying her hands and legs and pouring scalding hot water on her. The 45-year-old man, Bankole Oginni, also went further to open up her stomach and remove her intestines, dismembering her body.  In Oyo State, a nurse—Omoniyi Boluwatife—was found dead on the street with her womb removed.

The profoundly troubling pattern continued globally, from India to Uganda to Australia, as women were killed by their fathers in the form of honour killing or died due to injuries sustained from extreme domestic violence by their partners. A gruesome report in the United Kingdom was a woman who was killed and raped in death. Joe Rankin, 34, murdered Emma Potter, 40, at her home in Stroud, Gloucestershire, where her body lay undiscovered for six weeks.

It’s a heartbreaking truth that women everywhere, regardless of their age, background, or sexual orientation, continue to be victims of this pervasive gender-based violence. 

The pressing question we must address is: When do we move beyond mere outrage and translate our empathy into tangible action? What do we do when there is no more outrage? When do we build a world where justice prevails, where every life is valued, cherished, and protected? The time has come for us to transform our collective anguish into unyielding advocacy, to demand an end to the cycle of violence, and to create a future where every woman can live free from fear and violence.


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