Geneva: One in three women worldwide face physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner at some point in their lifetime, as per a new study from the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to The Hill, the research found that the number of women who face physical and sexual violence, approximately 736 million worldwide, has remained “largely unchanged over the past decade,” according to a Tuesday statement from the WHO.

The WHO found that one in four girls and young women aged 15 to 24 who have been in a relationship will “have already experienced violence by an intimate partner by the time they reach their mid-twenties.”

“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 in a statement.

“But unlike COVID-19, violence against women cannot be stopped with a vaccine. We can only fight it with deep-rooted and sustained efforts – by governments, communities and individuals – to change harmful attitudes, improve access to opportunities and services for women and girls, and foster healthy and mutually respectful relationships,” he said.

According to the study, violence against women is more pervasive in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Approximately 37 per cent of women living in the poorest countries in the world have faced violence from an intimate partner during their lifetime, with some countries reporting up to one in two women facing violence.

According to the WHO, Violence from an intimate partner is “by far the most prevalent form of violence against women globally.” Six percent of women in the study reported being sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner or husband.

The WHO noted that the figures are “likely to be significantly higher” given the worldwide under-reporting of sexual abuse, as well as ongoing stigma.


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