Human Rights One in three women experience violence worldwide: WHO

One in three women experience violence worldwide: WHO

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One in three women worldwide have been subject to sexual or physical violence during their lifetime, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO says that around around 736 million women have been subjected to the violence.

“Violence against women is endemic in every country and culture, causing harm to millions of women and their families, and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

According to the WHO, the violence starts early, with a quarter of 15 to 24-year-olds in a relationship having experienced violence by an intimate partner by the time they reach their mid-twenties. 

“It’s deeply disturbing that this pervasive violence by men against women not only persists unchanged but is at its worst for young women aged 15-24 who may also be young mothers,” said UN Women chief Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. 

The regions of Oceania, Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa have the highest prevalence rates of intimate partner violence among women aged 15-49, ranging from 33% – 51%.  The lowest rates are found in Europe (16–23%), Central Asia (18%), Eastern Asia (20%) and South-Eastern Asia (21%), the WHO report said.

The WHO has urged governments to take action to prevent violence against women.

Preventing violence requires addressing systemic economic and social inequalities, ensuring access to education and safe work, and changing discriminatory gender norms and institutions. Successful interventions also include strategies that ensure essential services are available and accessible to survivors, that support women’s organisations, challenge inequitable social norms, reform discriminatory laws and strengthen legal responses, among others, WHO said in the report.

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