Taiwan to host world conference on women's shelters

Women's shelters to be the topic of an international conference in Kaohsiung later this year.

Women's shelters to be the topic of an international conference in Kaohsiung later this year. (CNA photo)

Taipei (CNA) - Taiwan will host the fourth World Conference of Women's Shelters in November, with 1,500 female representatives from 120 countries participating, the Taiwanese co-organizer Garden of Hope Foundation announced Friday.

The conference will be held in Kaohsiung Nov. 5-8 to discuss how to step up the functions of shelters for women, end abuse of women and cement partnerships to wipe out violence against women, Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容), executive director of the foundation, told a news conference.

The participants will include Dubravka Simonovic, a United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women, Eve Ensler, an American playwright, feminist and activist known for her play "The Vagina Monologues," and Shiori Ito, a Japanese journalist and author of "Black Box," a book that talks about her allegedly being raped and her experiences that followed.

Chi, who was named director of the Global Network of Women's Shelters in March 2018, said the conference is aimed at increasing global awareness of abused womens' need for shelter so as to provide them with safe housing and a home-like environment.

Su Li-chiung (蘇麗瓊), deputy minister of health and welfare, noted that there are 36 shelters in Taiwan that offer short-term or long-term accommodation for abused women.

She expressed hope that Taiwan will learn more from the international conference on how to provide more effective protection for them.

According to statistics compiled by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 131,134 female victims of sexual abuse in Taiwan were reported to the government authorities between 1997 and 2016.

During the 1999-2017 period, the number of domestic abuse cases surged to nearly 1.66 million, ministry tallies show, underscoring an urgent need to provide shelters for women who suffer from violence.

According to a United Nations report, it is estimated that 33 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner (not including sexual harassment) at some point in their lives.

However, some national studies show that up to 70 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

It is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, more than half (50,000, or 58 percent) were killed by intimate partners or family members, meaning that 137 women around the world are killed by a member of their own family every day, the report said. (By Flor Wang and Wu Hsin-yun)