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1 in 4 women experience ‘sexual abuse’ by their partners: Report

According to The Lancet, one in four or 27 percent of women are victims of intimate partner violence before the age of 50. Researchers at McGill University and the WHO examined the health records of over 2 million women from 161 countries, and found that one in seven women (or 13%) experiences intimate partner violence. The analysis also reveals high rates of violence against young women. Approximately 24 percent of 15-19-year-olds reported that they had experienced domestic violence in their lifetime.

Despite the alarming numbers, researchers from McGill University and the WHO explain that, since the study relied on self-reported experiences, the true scale of violence is probably higher. As a result of the stigmatized nature of the issue, they say women may be reluctant to share their experiences.

Mathieu Maheu-Giroux, a professor at McGill University, said that intimate partner violence against women – which includes physical and sexual violence by husbands, boyfriends, and other partners – is a worldwide problem. A lower prevalence of violence has been reported in low-income countries over the past year, as well as over the course of a lifetime, according to the researchers.

Women aged 15 to 49 in Africa, South Asia, and parts of South America had the highest lifetime prevalence of violence. Central Asia and Central Europe ranked highest in terms of lifetime domestic violence estimates. Over the past year, about 5 percent of women in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific were victimized by intimate partner violence. Some areas of Africa have a rate as high as 15 percent to 30 percent.

According to Maheu-Giroux, ‘Globally, our research shows governments are not on track to meet global targets to eliminate violence against women and girls. Moreover, even in high-income countries, the prevalence of intimate partner violence is relatively high, which requires investments in prevention at local and global levels’.

According to researchers, the COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated the problem. They noted that it was essential to strengthen the public health response to intimate partner violence and to ensure that the issues are addressed in the rebuilding efforts following COVID-19.




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