NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 27: Almost 1 in 3 women globally experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime, said WHO on Monday.
Estimates suggest that the South-East Asia Region (SEARO) ranks second highest, at around 33%, in the world where women experience physical or sexual violence.
Stressing that everyone has the right to a life free of violence and coercion, the WHO SEARO Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said that most women are at greater risk with people they live with.
While most of this is in the form of intimate partner violence, in other words, women are at greatest risks from people they live with, she added.
“Violence against women, especially intimate partner violence, has serious health impacts, both immediate and long term. These encompass injuries as well as serious physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems, including sexually transmitted infections, HIV and unplanned pregnancies as well as mental health problems”, she said.
The very high prevalence of violence against women and its significant health impacts place it among today’s priority public health issues, Dr Singh said.
In addition, it is a grievous violation of women’s and girls’ human rights, she added.
Marking the start of a 16-Day of Activism for No Violence against Women, she said that violence against women is preventable.
“It is rooted in gender inequality and harmful gender norms that make violence against women acceptable. In particular, evidence shows that intimate partner violence and sexual violence result from factors occurring at an individual, family, community and wider society levels that interact with each other to increase (risk factors) or reduce risk (protective factors) of such violence”, she said.
Dr Singh said that some are associated with being a perpetrator of violence, others are associated with experiencing violence and some are associated with both.
“Key risk factors linked to unequal gender norms include, for example, harmful masculine behaviours, including having multiple partners or attitudes that condone violence, or community norms that privilege or ascribe higher status to men and lower status to women”, she said.
This year, WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Office has again joined its partners to participate in the annual campaign.
November 25, the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, marks the beginning of the annual activist-led campaign, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The campaign lasts until December 10 and is observed every year as Human Rights Day,
She said that the day serves as a befitting reminder that women’s rights are human rights and we should do all we can to respect, protect and fulfill these rights.
“Let’s resolve to redouble our efforts to prevent and respond to violence against women ~ and keep women and girls everywhere safe”, Dr Singh said.