Ban Ki-moon: End violence against women
On the occasion of the International Women's Day on Sunday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for ending all forms of violence against women that perpetuate poverty and inequality.?

He said the habitual and socially-ingrained violence against women mars lives, destroys health, and perpetuate poverty and inequality, WAM reported.?

"One year ago, I launched a campaign calling on the people and governments worldwide to unite to end violence against women and girls. The campaign will run through 2015, the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals," Ban said in a message to mark the International Women's Day on March 08.?

"Violence against women is also linked to the spread of HIV/AIDS. In some countries, as many as one in three women will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Women and girls are also systematically and deliberately subjected to rape and sexual violence in war.?

"Violence against women stands in direct contradiction to the promise of the UN Charter to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom." The consequences go beyond the visible and immediate. Death, injury, medical costs and lost employment are but the tip of an iceberg.?

The impact on women and girls, their families, their communities and their societies in terms of shattered lives and livelihoods is beyond calculation. Far too often, crimes go unpunished, and perpetrators walk free. No country, no culture, no woman, young or old, is immune, he noted.?

Increasingly, he said, men, too, are speaking out against this stain on our society. Global examples include the White Ribbon Campaign and V-Day Campaign. And at community workshops, men are teaching other men that there is another way to settle disagreements - that is "real men don't hit women".?

"Changing mindsets and habits of generations is not easy. It must involve all of us - individuals, organisations and governments. We must work together to assert loud and clear, at the highest level, that violence against women will not be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstance.??

"We need economic and social policies that support women's empowerment. We need programmes and budgets that promote non-violence. We need a positive image of women in the media. We need laws that say violence is a crime, that hold perpetrators accountable and are enforced.??

"The Unite to End Violence against Women campaign encourages men and women to join hands to oppose violence against women. Only by acting together can we create more equal and peaceful societies. Let us all, on this International Women's Day, resolve to make a difference," he concluded.?