The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that one in three women worldwide — about 736 million — have suffered from physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
In the largest study on violence against women to date, WHO found out that one in four women worldwide — about 641 million — have experienced abuse from their intimate partner, suggesting that it is the most widespread form of abuse in the world.
The study also revealed that women as young as 15 have already experienced domestic violence with an estimated quarter of 15- to 19-year-old girls to have already been subjected to abuse at least once in their lifetime.
The study found that the highest rate of intimate partner violence was among 30- to 39-year-olds.
Meanwhile, 6% of women around the world reported that they had experienced violence from someone other than their partner, including from a stranger.
WHO also noted that the actual figures could be much higher if the study included other forms of violence.
WHO Lead on Violence Against Women Dr. Claudia Garcia-Moreno said that the numbers should be a “wake-up call” to governments.
“There’s an urgent need to reduce stigma around this issue, train health professionals to interview survivors with compassion, and dismantle the foundations of gender inequality,” Garcia-Moreno said.
Covering 161 countries, the study analyzed data from surveys published between 2000 and 2018 to update previous estimates released in 2013.
Although the study did not include data from the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the pandemic worsened violence against women.
Reports last year showed that violence against women intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19, dubbing the situation “the shadow pandemic.”
Last year, the United Nations predicted at least 15 million additional cases of domestic violence worldwide due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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