A major study has reached the alarming conclusion that up to one in every three women worldwide has been the victim of physical or sexual abuse committed by a former or current partner. Following a pioneering study into the true extent of the problem, the World Health Organization revealed the findings which were considerably more shocking than any had predicted.
In the WHO study, physical abuse included various violent acts including hitting, pushing, grasping and choking. Sexual abuse on the other hand did not necessarily have to include a physical act of violence, but rather any instance in which a woman felt unable to refuse a sexual encounter due to fear of the consequences. It also covered being pressured into sex acts and practices that the person involved considers to be humiliating or degrading.
The results also highlighted that up to 7% of women may have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a person they had never been in a relationship with.
It is the hope of the WHO that bringing the extraordinary depths of the problem to light will in turn motivate both government bodies and members of the public to be more proactive when it comes to identifying and combating abuse. Guidelines were issued by the WHO along with the reports as an effort to better educate those in both vulnerable and responsible positions.
According to the agency, it is the responsibility of every professional working in the healthcare industry to make sure they are able to pinpoint those at risk, spot the signs of abuse and know exactly how to act should the suspicions be aroused.
Looking at global figures between 198 and 2013, the report from the WHO claims that as high as 30% of women have faced one or both of the above-mentioned abuse classifications. The paper also calls to attention the fact that over 600 million women are even today residing in nations where such abuse isn’t considered an illegal act.