Violence against Women: WHO Findings

A comprehensive study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on violence against women makes the following observations:

  • About 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • Around 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner.
  • In countries like India, intimate partner violence is the highest at 37.7% in the South East Region.
  • Violence against women ranges from 23.2% in high-income countries and 24.6% in the Western Pacific region to 37% in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
  • Men are more likely to perpetrate violence if they have low education, a history of child maltreatment, exposure to domestic violence against their mothers, harmful use of alcohol, unequal gender norms, including attitudes accepting of violence, and a sense of entitlement over women.
  • Women are more likely to experience intimate partner violence if they have low education, exposure to mothers being abused by a partner, abuse during childhood, and attitudes accepting violence, male privilege and women s subordinate status.
  • Advocacy and empowerment counselling interventions, as well as home visitation, are promising in preventing or reducing intimate partner violence against women.

The study notes that violence against women particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence are a major public health problem. It is also a violation of women s human rights. WHO suggests governments to effectively adopt Respect which is a framework developed by WHO together with UN Women and other partners for prevention of violence against women.

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