The UN has issued a declaration in opposition of violence against women. Wow, it’s surprising that in our modern world we need a multinational organization to debate if violence against half of the world’s population should be considered wrong. The declaration, however, was hotly contested as nations lobbied to preserve their sovereign right to establish their own laws and customs. The UN’s Commission on the Status of Women held firm in urging states, “to strongly condemn all forms of violence against women and girls and to refrain from invoking any custom, tradition and religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination.”

Should we even need to say that violence against women is wrong? Clearly yes!   

According to a UN report, “Violence against women is a universal phenomenon. In many regions of the world longstanding customs put considerable pressure on women to accept abuse.” Forms of abuse include beatings, rape, trafficking, and genital mutilation…appalling atrocities when viewed through the standards of Saratoga County. But worldwide the standards are different; even many women in these countries justify wife beatings for reasons such as: burning the food and arguing with or going out without telling the husband. 

So the UN’s formal opposition to all violence against women is indeed an historic step toward change.