Thursday, October 28

15% of Spanish women suffered physical or sexual violence, according to the WHO


15% of Spanish women between 15 and 49 years old have suffered physical and / or sexual violence by their partner at some point in their life and 3% in the last twelve months, according to a report by the World Organization of the Health (WHO).

Worldwide, the document estimates that between 736 and 852 million women, that is, one in three, have been victims of this gender violence. Within this classification, however, Spain is among the countries with the lowest prevalence, along with Austria, Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Comoros and Panama. All of these countries are in the 15% range.

According to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), in Spain there are 10,485,184 women aged 15 to 49 as of July 1, 2020. If the WHO estimates are applied, this would mean that about 1,572,777 women between the ages of 15 and 49 in Spain have been victims of gender violence.

This report, which presents data from the largest study to date on the prevalence of violence against women, has been carried out by WHO on behalf of a special United Nations working group. It is based on data corresponding to the period between 2000 and 2018 and provides new estimates after the most recent ones, published in 2013.

The document, presented this Wednesday at a press conference, points out that this violence begins at an early age: one in four women between 15 and 24 years old who have had an intimate relationship will have been subjected to violent behavior by an intimate partner when they meet 25 years. According to these data, around 641 million women in the world suffer violent acts perpetrated by an intimate partner. This form of violence is by far the most common suffered by women. However, 6 of the women report having been sexually assaulted by people who are neither their husband nor an intimate partner. The WHO details that if you take into account the “high degree of stigmatization” and the fact that many sexual abuses “go unreported”, it is likely that, in practice, “these figures are much higher”.

«Violence against women is endemic in all countries and cultures. It is harmful to millions of women and their families and has been exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic. However, we do not have vaccines to stop it and we can only cope if governments, communities and individuals take action and fully integrate them to change harmful attitudes, improve access to opportunities and services for women. and girls and promote healthy relationships and mutual respect, “said in his speech the director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Violence and pandemic

The WHO details that while the published figures reveal “alarmingly high” rates of violence against women and girls, they do not reflect the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is currently having. Thus, they warn that this pandemic “has further exposed” women to violent behavior due to measures such as confinements and interruptions of vital support services.

“It is very worrying that the rates of this generalized violence by men against women not only does not decrease, but that those who suffer the most are women between 15 and 24 years old who, in many cases, are already mothers. Let us also not forget that we are talking about the situation prior to the imposition of measures to deal with the pandemic, such as staying at home. We know that the many repercussions of covid-19 have led to a ‘hidden pandemic’ of all types of violence against women and girls, as evidenced by the increase in reported cases. All governments must take the initiative decisively to tackle this problem and empower women to that end, ”said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

On the other hand, the report points out that, although in many countries there has been an increase in reports of intimate partner violence to information and help telephone services, the police, health personnel, teachers and others during the days of confinement, “we can only know the true impact of the pandemic when surveys can be conducted again.

Risk due to inequality

Women living in low-income countries and in the lower-income band within the group of middle-income countries suffer this violence disproportionately. According to estimates, 37% of women in the poorest countries have been subjected to physical and / or sexual violence by an intimate partner at some point in their life, and in some of these countries the prevalence is as high as one in two women.

The regions with the highest prevalence rates of intimate partner violence among women aged 15-49 are Oceania, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, with rates ranging from 33% to 51%, while the lowest rates are found in Europe (16-23%), Central Asia (18%), East Asia (20%) and Southeast Asia (21%).

The age group with the highest rates of violence suffered most recently is young women. Among women who have had an intimate partner in the previous 12 months, the highest rate in that period, with 16 percent, corresponds to young women between 15 and 24 years old.


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