UNITED NATIONS (AP) — New York City's legal counsel said Tuesday that police receive more than 770 reports of domestic violence every day — a figure the head of the U.N. women's agency said reflects what is happening in the world.
On the International Day to End Violence Against Women, New York City's top lawyer Maya Wiley also said "it's really a staggering fact that 40 percent of violent felonies in this city are related to domestic violence."
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said the figures in New York City "are indicative of the problem" throughout the world.
"Violence against women is an issue that cannot wait," she said. "One in three women around the world will experience physical or sexual violence in some point in their life unless we do something bold. We also must be involved in stopping this blatant violation, from the local to the global level."
The U.N. has launched a campaign called "Orange Your Neighborhood" to raise awareness of violence against women in local areas. It included lighting up the Empire State Building and U.N. headquarters Tuesday night in orange to support ending the scourge.
UN Women's Mlambo-Ngucka and New York City's first lady Chirlane McCray, wife of Mayor Bill de Blasio, signed a memorandum of understanding at the U.N.'s official commemoration Wednesday to work together in order to enhance the safety and empowerment of women and girls. As part of the pact, the city will support public education and advocacy efforts organized by UN Women to promote the roadmap for gender equality adopted by 189 governments at the 1995 U.N. women's conference in Beijing.
Wiley said New York City officials know that in public housing projects 75 percent of domestic violence incidents go unreported so the mayor is setting up special teams to ensure that victims get connected to family centers and support services.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the commemoration that this year has seen the kidnapping of more than 200 girls in Nigeria; Indian schoolgirls who were raped, killed and hung from a tree; graphic testimony from Iraqi women of rape and sexual slavery during war, and the continued bullying of women on the Internet.
He said men and boys are finally taking their place in the battle to end violence against women.
"It is simply the most extreme example of the political, financial, social and economic oppression of women and girls worldwide," Ban said. "Ending this violence is central to our efforts to empower women and girls, and to build stronger, fairer, more inclusive and stable societies."