Nearly 1 in 4 adolescent girls experiences physical violence – UNICEF

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GENEVA: On International Day of the Girl Child, UNICEF released Friday new data revealing the magnitude of violence against adolescent girls and the alarming attitudes that perpetuate such abuse.

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UNICEF warned almost one quarter of girls aged 15 to 19 years worldwide (approximately 70 million people) report falling victim to some form of physical violence from age 15 years.

Around 120 million girls under 20 years old worldwide experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts.

One in three married adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 years (84 million people) became victims of emotional, physical or sexual violence committed by their husbands or partners.

Data suggested that in some countries, as many as seven in 10 girls aged 15 to 19 years who became victims of physical or sexual abuse never sought help.

Worldwide, more than 700 million women today were married before their 18th birthday.

More than one in three (about 250 million people) entered into union before age 15 years.

“These numbers speak to a mindset that tolerates, perpetuates and even justifies violence and should sound an alarm to everyone, everywhere,” UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta said in a statement.

“The problem is global but solutions must be found at the national, community and family level. We have a responsibility to protect, educate, and empower adolescents. We are all accountable for ending violence against girls,” Gupta added.

On Dec. 19, 2011, UN General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring Oct. 11 as International Day of the Girl Child. PNA

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