Third of women worldwide experience intimate partner violence

June 21, 2013 at 12:48 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, June 21 (UPI) -- About a third of all women worldwide will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence, World Health Organization officials in Switzerland say.

A report by WHO, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council found intimate partner violence was the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30 percent of women worldwide.

The report detailed the impact of violence on the physical and mental health of women and girls ranging from broken bones to pregnancy-related complications, mental health problems and impaired social functioning.

"These findings send a powerful message that violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions," Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, said in a statement. "We also see that the world's health systems can and must do more for women who experience violence."

The report found:

-- 38 percent of all women murdered were murdered by their intimate partners.

-- 42 percent of women who experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of a partner were injuries.

-- Women who experienced partner violence were almost twice as likely to experience depression compared to women not battered.

-- Women were almost twice as likely as other women to have alcohol-use problems.

-- Women were 1.5 times more likely to acquire syphilis infection, Chlamydia or gonorrhea. In some regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, they are 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV.

-- Women were twice as likely to have an abortion as women who do not experience violence.

-- Women had a 16 percent greater chance of having a low birth-weight baby.

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