Report Calls Violence Against Women a Global Public Health Problem

The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report last week that acknowledges for the first time the public health implications of physical and sexual domestic violence. According to the report, somewhere between 50-70 percent of the women worldwide who die as a result of homicide are killed by former boyfriends or husbands. The report also states that one out of every four women will experience sexual violence by someone close to them in their lifetime, that some 20 percent of women suffer sexual abuse as children, and that in some countries up to one-third of all girls report that their first sexual experience was forced.

This report sends the message that violence in the private sphere must be addressed because it is a worldwide public health problem. According to Krug, the editor of the report, “violence is often only addressed in the context of war or the context of time. By doing so we miss some of the violence that is not necessarily crime: violence in the home, bullying, [and] suicide,” WOMENSENEWS reports.

The WHO includes a series of recommendations in the report to prevent violence, such as preschool and social development programs for kids, strengthening responses to victims of violence, and promoting adherence to various international treaties and laws.

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World Health Organization 10/7/02; WOMENSENEWS 10/4/02

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