WHO's Reports on Violence Against Women Worldwide

Today the World Health Organization released a report that backs up WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan's statement that violence against women is a "global health problem of epidemic proportions."

The statistics are really that scary. The report says that roughly 1 in 3 women will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime, and 38 percent of all murdered women are killed by an intimate partner, in comparison with only 6 percent of all murdered men.

To make matters worse, WHO says that the numbers in the report are likely underestimated, due to the social stigma around reporting sexual and physical violence.

For intimate partner violence the worst affected regions are:

  • South-East Asia - 37.7% prevalence. Based on aggregated data from Bangladesh, Timor-Leste (East Timor), India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand.
  • Eastern Mediterranean - 37% prevalence. Based on aggregated data from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine.
  • Africa – 36.6% prevalence. Based on aggregated data from Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

For combined intimate partner and non-partner sexual violence the worst affected regions were:

  • Africa – 45.6%
  • Americas – 36.1%
  • Eastern Mediterranean – 36.4%* (No data were available for non-partner sexual violence in this region)
  • Europe – 27.2%
  • South-East Asia – 40.2%
  • Western Pacific – 27.9%
  • High income countries – 32.7%

So the prevalence of violence is close to 30% or more WORLDWIDE. Global epidemic, indeed.