One-third of women face sexual violence globally – WHO

WomenPhysical or sexual violence is a public health problem that affects more than one third of all women globally, a new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed.

The report has been released by WHO in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council.

Entitled: “Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence,” was made available by Fadéla Chaib, of WHO Media Relations in Geneva to the Ghana News Agency.

It represents the first systematic study of global data on the prevalence of violence against women – both by partners and non-partners; declaring that some 35 per cent of all women will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence.

The study said intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30 per cent of them worldwide.

The study highlights the need for all sectors to engage in eliminating tolerance for violence against women and better support the victims.

The report details the impact of violence on the physical and mental health of women and girls, adding that this could range from broken bones to pregnancy-related complications, mental problems and impaired social functioning.

The report’s key findings on the health impact of violence by an intimate partner were: death and injury, depression, alcohol use problems, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy and abortion and low birth-weight babies.

It noted that fear of stigma prevents many women from reporting non-partner sexual violence.

“Other barriers to data collection include the fact that fewer countries collect this data than information about intimate partner violence, and many surveys of this type of violence employ less sophisticated measurement approaches than those used in monitoring intimate partner violence.

“In spite of these obstacles, the review found that 7.2 per cent of women globally had reported non-partner sexual violence.

“As a result of this violence, they were 2.3 times more likely to have alcohol disorders and 2.6 times more likely to suffer depression or anxiety – slightly more than women experiencing intimate partner violence,” it said.

The report calls for a major scaling up of global efforts to prevent all kinds of violence against women by addressing the social and cultural factors behind it.

The report also emphasises the urgent need for better care for women who have experienced violence.

These women often seek health-care, without necessarily disclosing the cause of their injuries or ill-health.

Source: GNA

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