One in three women have already suffered physical violence: World Health Organization

WION Web Team
Geneva, Switzerland Published: Mar 09, 2021, 10:42 PM(IST)

Protesters hold placards reading 'stop sexist and sexual violences in our universities, schooles and high schools' during a demonstration called by Feminist Strike Movement for Women's Rights Day Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

In a report, the UN health agency found that around 30 per cent of all women and girls over the age of 15, around 736 million people, have already been victims of such violence throughout their lifetimes, mainly at the hands of intimate partners

Nearly one in three women worldwide is subjected to physical or sexual violence during her lifetime, pervasive criminal behaviour that has increased during the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

In a report, the UN health agency found that around 30 per cent of all women and girls over the age of 15, around 736 million people, have already been victims of such violence throughout their lifetimes, mainly at the hands of intimate partners.

"Violence against women is endemic in every country and culture, causing harm to millions of women and their families," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement, adding that the problem "has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic".

"These numbers are very shocking and really are sort of a wake-up call for governments to be doing much more to prevent this violence," report author Claudia Garcia-Moreno said.

"We know that the situation for many women may have gotten worse," she said, pointing in particular to some 641 million women and girls over 15 who have faced violence from an intimate partner.

"Women who were already in an abusive situation were trapped in those situations," she said. "All of a sudden they were more isolated and in constant touch with an abusive partner."

At the same time, the added financial pressures and stress of having children at home, among other challenges, risked sparking fresh abuse.

"We know that some of the factors that contribute to exacerbating domestic violence, in particular, are there," Garcia-Moreno said.

The U.N. agency urged governments to prevent violence, improve services for victims and tackle economic inequalities that often leave women and girls trapped in abusive relationships.

Boys should be taught in school about the need for mutual respect in relationships and mutual consent in sex, WHO officials said.

Some 31 per cent of women aged 15-49, or up to 852 million women, have experienced physical or sexual violence, the WHO said in what it called the largest-ever such study, encompassing national data and surveys from 2000-2018.

A husband or intimate partner is the most common perpetrator and a disproportionate number of victims are in the poorest countries, https://tmsnrt.rs/3t5OO78 it said. True figures are likely far higher due to under-reporting of sexual abuse, a heavily-stigmatised crime.

Read in App