UN chief urges end of violence against women

UNITED NATIONS, June 3 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Tuesday urged the end of sexual violence through gender equality, stressing that "violence against women is a peace and security issue."

"I am here to declare with all of you: it is time to act," said Ban at the launch of a video campaign on ending sexual violence through gender equality. Next week, Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict will be held in London.

Ban called despicable recent acts of violence against women from Nigeria to Pakistan and from California to India. "I was especially appalled by the brutal rape and gruesome murder of two teenaged women in India who had ventured out because they did not have access to a toilet," he said.

Two Indian teenage girls were abducted, gang raped and murdered on May 27 when they went to relieve themselves in a field at a village in the district of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh. Their bodies were found hanging from a tree the next day.

"Violence against women is a peace and security issue. It is a human rights issue. It is a development issue," Ban added.

It is estimated that worldwide one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. Women aged 15 to 44 are more likely at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria, according to World Bank data.