Amnesty International: Violence Against Women “Most Pervasive Human Rights Challenge”

In November, Amnesty International marked International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by arguing that violence against women is the “most pervasive human rights challenge” facing the world today. Unfortunately, Amnesty International appears to be relying on inflated activist figures for some of its claims.

Here’s a couple paragraphs from the BBC, for example, on Amnesty International’s take on women and human rights,

‘Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights challenge of our times,” said Amnesty International.

According to the organization, 120 million women around the world are subjected to brutal female circumcision every year and in the United States alone 700,000 women are raped annually.

Huh? According to the National Crime Victimization Survey — which relies on interviews to estimate crime rates, including those that are never reported to police — in 2000 there were roughly 100,000 rapes in the United States. Even if you add in the crimes labeled as sexual assaults by the NCVS, you still end up with a number that’s more than 2/3rds lower than the Amnesty International figure.

If Amnesty International is willing to rely on such specious figures for its estimates of violent crime against women in the United States, how can its estimates for crime in other parts of the world be trusted?


Attacks on women ‘biggest issue’. The BBC, November 26, 2003.

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