For many women and girls, the city is a hostile environment, to be negotiated "as delicately as a war zone." A trip down this or that street, a turn around the wrong corner can be like stepping on a landmine. Strategy, timing, and carefully planned routing can mean the difference between a normal trip, and a sudden verbal or physical explosion.
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women -- a day which reminds us that violence against women continues to be destructive and pervasive. Ranging from domestic violence and child marriages to the use of rape as a tactic of war, violence against women kills as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as cancer, is a grave assault on many more women and girls and imposes high economic and social costs on societies.
The prospects for a mid-twenties woman on the street are bleak. Her odds of sexual assault and/or other violent victimization are much higher than they would be if she had a home. The cold, poor nutrition, and other less than favorable realities of homelessness will diminish her health and without abatement, shorten her life span.