10 Facts You Should Know About Violence Against Girls

Safety and Violence

Empowering adolescent girls has a crucial role to play in ending gender-based violence. In many ways, adolescent girls and young women are more vulnerable to physical, psychological and sexual violence than adult women. Given their young age and limited experience, they are also less likely to seek help.

With data and maps taken from Girls Discovered, here are ten facts you should know:

  1. Violence is the second leading cause of death worldwide for adolescent girls. Global estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO) reveal that 10% of deaths among adolescent girls are caused by violence.
  2. For girls, nearly half of first sexual encounters are unwanted or forced. According to UN Women, 50% of sexual assaults worldwide are committed against girls under the age of 16.
  3. Gender discrimination contributes to widespread social acceptance of violence against girls. Worldwide, nearly 50% of adolescent girls and young women believe a husband is justified in beating his wife for minor offences, such as refusing sexual intercourse, arguing or burning dinner.
  4. Violent discipline is a normal part of life for girls all over the world. UNICEF data reveals that, in countries surveyed, more than two-thirds of girls experience violent discipline, including psychological aggression or physical punishment.
  5. Girls in humanitarian emergencies are at an increased risk of violence and sexual assault. Adolescent girls account for approximately 17% of refugees and displaced persons worldwide, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
  6. Married girls are more likely to experience intimate partner violence than unmarried girls. Globally, one in every nine girls will be married before her 15th birthday, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
  7. Violence against girls makes them more vulnerable to contracting HIV/AIDS. According to UN AIDS report, young women who experience intimate partner violence are up to 50% more likely to contract HIV than those that do not.
  8. More than 3.5 million girls are forced or compelled to undergo FGM/C each year. Globally, an estimated 133 million girls have undergone some form of female genital mutilation or circumcision (FGM/C), including 101 million girls in sub-Saharan Africa where the practice is most common.
  9. Girls are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking and forced sexual exploitation. Girls make up an estimated 15-20% of the total number of trafficking victims worldwide.
  10. Most girls’ experience some form of sexual harassment in school and in public. In both developing and developed countries, most women and girls report experiencing sexual harassment in school, work and in public.

Guest Blogger – Marilu Gresens and Jennifer Martins are the coordinators of the Girls Discovered project –- a partnership between Maplecroft, UN Foundation and Nike Foundation.