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WHO: One in Three Women Experience Violence

Globally, women are experiencing intimate partner and/or sexual violence at rates of 1 in 3, according to a recently released report from the World Health Organization. The statistics featured in the report reiterate that violence against women is a prominent public health concern, as well as a violation of a woman’s basic human rights. It further validates that violence affects women regardless of race, ethnicity, social-economic status or religious background.

The report details not only the lifetime prevalence, but also the health impact of the effects of violence on women’s physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health. 

The report showed that:

  • Women exposed to intimate partner violence are twice as likely to experience depression, and twice as likely to use alcohol as a coping mechanism.
  • Pregnant women experiencing intimate partner violence are 16 percent more likely to have a low birth weight baby.
  • Globally, 38 percent of all murders of women were reported as being committed by intimate partners.

The report also urges healthcare professionals to address the physical and psychological health needs of women who have experienced violence. Because healthcare professionals are sometimes the only point of intervention that many women have, they are in a unique position to provide a comprehensive response — addressing immediate health needs, gathering forensic evidence when needed and providing referral services to safety.

Partnerships between local domestic and/or sexual violence organizations and public health agencies are a good way to provide comprehensive community intervention to violence against women.

The complete report can be found here.