The numbers are stark – and startling.
Around the world, almost 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence at least once in their lifetime, according to a new report released by the World Health Organization. That number has remained largely unchanged over the past decade, WHO said.
The report, which WHO says is the largest-ever study of the prevalence of violence against women, draws upon data from 161 countries and areas on women and girls age 15 and up collected between 2000 and 2018.
According to the report, intimate partner violence was the most prevalent form – and it starts early. Nearly 1 in 4 girls and women who’d been in a relationship have already experience physical and/or sexual violence by age 19, the report found.
“The results paint a horrifying picture” of the scale of violence against women, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference on Tuesday. In a statement, he called it a problem “endemic in every country and culture that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, emerging data and reports have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified in what we have called the Shadow Pandemic,” she said.
“Today’s report and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic show that measures need to be stepped up to eradicate violence against women and girls, once and for all.”