One in three women, around 736 million, are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner in their lifetime, says a World Health Organisation (WHO) report.
According to the report, this violence starts early — one in four young women (aged between 15-24 years) who have been in a relationship will have already experienced violence by an intimate partner by the time they reach their mid-twenties.
Intimate partner violence is by far the most prevalent form of violence against women globally, affecting around 641 million. However, six per cent of women globally report being sexually assaulted by someone other than their husband or partner, the report said.
Given the high levels of stigma and under-reporting of sexual abuse, the true figure is likely to be significantly higher.
“To address violence against women, 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,” Claudia Garcia-Moreno from WHO, said in a statement.