Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Violence Against Women from International Encyclopedia of Public Health

Violence against women is widespread and affects millions of women and girls worldwide. Among its many health consequences are those related to sexual and reproductive health: unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, unsafe abortions, and gynecological injuries and problems. Violence during pregnancy is also common, with prevalence of physical violence during pregnancy ranging from 1 to 32% in studies from countries worldwide. This violence has been associated with low birth weight, premature labor, miscarriage, and other obstetric complications. Sexual and reproductive health providers and services have the opportunity to identify women suffering from violent relationships and to contribute to preventing further victimization and consequences. Providing comprehensive postrape care, including emergency contraception and access to safe abortion where legal, is also important.

Keywords
  • Domestic violence

  • Gender-based violence

  • HIV/AIDS

  • Intimate partner violence (IPV)

  • Pregnancy (unwanted)

  • Rape

  • Reproductive health providers/services

  • Sexual health

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

  • Sexual violence

  • Violence against women

Introduction

Violence against women is a major public health problem and an abuse of women’s human rights. It is pervasive worldwide, although its prevalence varies between sites, as do the patterns and forms it takes. Violence against women is an important risk factor for women’s health, resulting in a wide range of negative outcomes for women’s health and well-being, including their sexual and reproductive health.

Violence against women can take many forms, including: physical, sexual, and emotional abuse by an intimate partner; rape and sexual assault whether by a partner, acquaintance, or stranger, or in the context of war; sexual abuse during childhood; trafficking for purposes of sex or forced labor; forced prostitution; female genital mutilation, child marriage, and other harmful traditional practices; and murders in the name of honor or related to dowry. Violence against women is also referred to as gender-based violence (GBV) because it is closely linked to gender inequality and to the social norms that perpetuate women’s and girls’ subordinate status in society.

This articles focuses on intimate partner violence (also known as domestic violence), and sexual violence including during conflict and displacement, while also touching on child sexual abuse, trafficking of women and female genital mutilation, both because they are common forms of violence experienced by girls and women globally and because of their particular impact on sexual and reproductive health. While recognizing that the health consequences of violence are far-ranging and include, importantly, mental health, injuries, and other physical health problems, this article focuses on the sexual and reproductive health aspects.

How Widespread Is Violence Against Women?

A growing number of studies worldwide are documenting how common violence against women is. The majority of the population-based studies so far have focused on intimate partner violence, particularly physical and sexual (few studies so far also include emotional abuse), and less so on rape (by all perpetrators) and other forms of sexual abuse. Trafficking of women, violence during conflict and war, and other forms of violence against women remain understudied and not so well documented.

Intimate Partner Violence

A review (to 1999) of population-based studies from around the world found that between 10 and 69% of women reported being physically abused by an intimate male partner at some point in their life (Heise and Garcia-Moreno, 2002). This violence is usually accompanied by sexual and emotional violence, and studies are beginning to collect data on these other forms of abuse. Table 1 summarizes existing data on the prevalence of partner physical violence.

Table 1 Prevalence of physical assaults on women by a male partnera
Country or area Year of study Region covered Sample size Study population Age (years) Proportion of women physically assaulted by a partner last 12 months Ever
Key to: Study population
I: All women
II: Currently married/partnered women
III: Ever married/partnered women
IV: Women with a pregnancy outcome
V: Married women; half with pregnancy outcome, half without
VI: Women who had a partner within the last 12 months
a Source for all countries or areas, unless noted is adapted from Ellsberg M and Heise L (2005) Researching Violence Against Women: A Practical Guide for Researchers and Activists. Washington, DC: PATH/WHO; United Nations (2006) World report on violence and children. Secretary-General’s Report. New York: United Nations.
b During current relationship.
c Pelser E, Gondwre L, Mayamba C, Mhango T, Phiri W, and Burton P (2005) Intimate partner violence: Results from a national gender-based study in Malawi, South Africa. Crime and Justice Statistical Division, National Statistical Office.
d Although sample included all women, rate of abuse is shown for ever married/partnered women (number not given).
e Sample group included women who had never been in a relationship and therefore were not in exposed group.
f Physical or sexual assault.
g Publication date (field work dates not reported).
h Rate of partner abuse among ever married/partnered women recalculated from author’s data.
i Nonrandom sampling methods used.
j Within the last five years.
k Haar RN (2005) Violence against women in marriage: A general population study in Khatlon Oblast, Tajikistan, baseline survey conducted by the NGO Social Development Group. In Secretary General‘s study on violence against women, United Nations document A/61/122/Add.1. Tajikistan: Unites Nations.
l Since the age of 18.
m Includes threats.
n Since the age of 16.
Africa
Ethiopia 2002 Meskanena Woreda 2261 III 15-49 29 49
Kenya 1984-87 Kisii District 612 V >15 42b
Malawic 2005 National 3546 30
Namibia 2003 Windhoek 1367 III 15-49 16 31
South Africa 1998 Eastern Cape 396 III 18-49 11 27
1998 Mpumalanga 419 III 18-49 12 28
1998 Northern Province 464 III 18-49 5 19
1998 National 10 190 II 15-49 6 13
Uganda 1995-96 Lira and Masaka 1660 II 20-44 41b
United Republic of Tanzania 2002 Dar es Salaam 1442 III 15-49 15 33
2002 Mbeya 1256 III 15-49 19 47
Zambia 2001-02 National 3792 III 15-49 27 49
Zimbabwe 1996 Midlands Province 966 I >18 17d
Latin America and the Caribbean
Barbados 1990 National 264 I 20-45 30e,f
Brazil 2001 Sao Paulo 940 III 15-49 8 27
2001 Pernambuco 1188 III 15-49 13 35
Chile 1993 Santiago Province 1000 II 22-55 26b
1997 Santiago 310 II 15-49 23
2004g Santa Rosa 422 IV 15-49 4 25
Colombia 1995 National 6097 II 15-49 19b
2000 National 7602 III 15-49 3 44
Dominican Republic 2002 National 6807 III 15-49 11 22
Ecuador 1995 National 11 657 II 15-49 12
El Salvador 2002 National 10 689 III 15-49 6 20b
Guatemala 2002 National 6595 VI 15-49 9
Honduras 2001 National 6827 VI 15-49 6 10
Haiti 2000 National 2347 III 15-49 21 29
Mexico 1996 Guadalajara 650 III >15 27
1996g Monterrey 1064 III >15 17
2003 National 34 184 II >15 9
Nicaragua 1995 Leon 360 III 15-49 27 52
1997 Managua 378 III 15-49 33 69
1998 National 8507 III 15-49 13 30
Paraguay 1995-96 National 5940 III 15-49 10
2004 National 5070 III 15-44 7 19
Peru 2000 National 17 369 III 15-49 2 42
2001 Lima 1019 III 15-49 17 50
\2001 Cusco 1497 III 15-49 25 62
Puerto Rico 1995-96 National 4755 III 15-49 13h
Uruguay 1997 National 545 IIi 22-55 10f
North America
Canada 1993 National 12 300 I >18 3d,f 29d,f
1999 National 8356 III >15 3 8j
USA 1995-96 National 8000 I >18 1e 22e
Asia and Western Pacific
Australia 1996 National 6300 I 3a 8b,d
2002-03 National 6438 III 18-69 3 31
Bangladesh 1992 National (villages) 1225 II <50 19 47
1993 Two rural regions 10 368 II 15-49 42b
2003 Dhaka 1373 III 15-49 19 40
2003 Matlab 1329 III 15-49 16 42
Cambodia 1996 Six regions 1374 III 15-49 16
2000 National 2403 III 15-49 15 18
China 1999-00 National 1665 II 20-64 15
India 1998-99 National 90 303 III 15-49 10 19
1999 Six states 9938 III 15-49 14 40
2004g Lucknow 506 IV 15-49 25 35
2004g Trivandrum 700 IV 15-49 20 43
2004g Vellore 716 IV 15-49 16 31
Indonesia 2000 Central Java 765 IV 15-49 2 11
Japan 2001 Yokohama 1276 III 18-49 3 13
Maldives 2006 National 1732 III 15-49 6 18
New Zealand 2002 Auckland 1309 III 18-64 5 30
2002 North Waikato 1360 III 18-64 34
Papua New Guinea 2002 National, rural villages 628 IIIi 67
Philippines 1993 National 8481 IV 15-49 10
1998 Cagayan de Oro 1660 II 15-49 26
City and Bukidnon
2004g Paco 1000 IV 15-49 6 21
Republic of Korea 2004 National 5916 II 20 - 13.2 20.7
Samoa 2000 National 1204 III 15-49 18 41
Tajikistank 2005 Khatlon region 400 I 17-49 19 36
Thailand 2002 Bangkok 1048 III 15-49 8 23
2002 Nakonsawan 1024 III 15-49 13 34
Viet Nam 2004 Ha Tay province 1090 III 15-60 14 25
Europe
Albania 2002 National 4049 III 15-44 5 8
Azerbaijan 2001 National 5533 III 15-44 8 20
Finland 1997 National 4955 I 18-74 7
Finland 2005 National 4464 I 18-74 6
France 2002 National 5908 II >18 3 9l
Georgia 1999 National 5694 III 15-44 2 5
Germany 2003 National 10 264 III 16-85 23d
Lithuania 1999 National 1010 II 18-74 42b,d,m
Netherlands 1986 National 989 I 20-60 21e
Norway 1989 Tronheim 111 III 20-49 18
Norway 2003 National 2143 III 20-56 627
Republic of Moldova 1997 National 4790 III 15-44 8 15
Romania 1999 National 5322 III 15-44 10 29
Russian Federation 2000 Three provinces 5482 III 15-44 7 22
Former Yugoslav Republics of Serbia and Montenegro 2003 Belgrade 1189 III 15-49 3 23
Sweden 2000 National 5868 III 18-64 4h 18h
Switzerland 1994-96 National 1500 II 20-60 6f 21f
2003 National 1882 III >18 10
Turkey 1998 East/South-East 599 I 14-75 58e
Anatolia
Ukraine 1999 National 5596 III 15-44 7 19
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1993g North London 430 I >16 12e 30e
2001 National 12 226 I 16-59 3 19n
Eastern Mediterranean
Egypt 1995-96 National 7123 III 15-49 13 34
2004j El-Sheik Zayed 631 IV 15-49 11 11
Israel 1997 Arab population 1826 II 19-67 32
West Bank and Gaza Strip 1994 Palestinian population 2410 II 17-65 52

Until recently, data on this problem, while valid, have been difficult to compare across countries due to methodological differences, for example, in sample size, measurement of violence, age, and characteristics of those interviewed.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Multi-Country Study on women’s health and domestic violence was designed to document the magnitude and nature of violence that women experienced, with a focus on intimate partner violence (its risk and protective factors, association with health outcomes, and women’s responses to such violence), with comparable methods across countries. Over 24 000 women were interviewed in 15 sites in 10 countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Japan, Namibia, Peru, Samoa, Serbia, Thailand, and the United Republic of Tanzania (comparable data are now also available from Equatorial Guinea, the Maldives, and New Zealand). The study found that the lifetime prevalence of physical intimate partner violence was between 13 and 61%, with most sites reporting between 23 and 49%. The lifetime prevalence of intimate partner sexual violence was between 6 and 59%. Overall, between 15 and 71% of women reported physical or sexual violence, or both, in their lifetime (Garcia-Moreno et al., 2006). Emotional abuse was also measured, asking about the presence and frequency of acts such as being insulted or made to feel bad, belittled, or humiliated in front of others, or threats to hurt someone you loved. Controlling behaviors were also measured and included: keeping a woman from seeing her friends, restricting contact with her family, insisting on knowing where she is at all times, expected to ask permission to seek health care, etc. Although there is less agreement about what constitutes emotional abuse, making it hard to determine its prevalence, women often report this as a most disempowering and devastating aspect of abuse by an intimate partner. Controlling behaviors by an intimate partner in the WHO study were found to be associated with perpetration of physical and sexual abuse. The study confirmed that there is wide variation in prevalence both between and within countries. The difference is particularly striking when looking at violence in the past year, with women in developing countries generally having a higher prevalence.

Intimate Partner Violence during Pregnancy

Partner violence often persists during pregnancy, with negative consequences for both maternal and infant health. Studies from the United States, Canada, and Europe have found a prevalence of violence during pregnancy to be between 3.4 and 11%. Studies from developing countries have found that 4 to 32% of women reporting have been subjected to physical violence (Campbell et al., 2004). In the WHO Multi-Country Study, the prevalence of physical abuse during pregnancy, among ever pregnant women, ranged from 4 to 12% in most sites. Abuse during pregnancy often involves blows to the abdomen, which may have serious consequences for both the mother and the infant as well. Overall, it would appear that this violence is a continuation of ongoing violence, with a small but varying percentage of women, depending on the site, reporting that this abuse started during the pregnancy. The evidence suggests that in some settings, pregnancy may offer protection, with violence decreasing during this time, while in others violence may increase (or start) as a result of pregnancy.

Sexual Violence, Including during Conflict and Displacement

Sexual violence is a global problem that until recently has remained hidden. It happens predominantly to women and girls, but boys and men are also sexually assaulted. The lifetime risk of attempted or completed rape is up to 20% for women (Jewkes et al., 2002). Legal definitions may vary, but rape is usually defined as the nonconsensual penetration of the vagina, mouth, or anus, by a penis. When an object other than the penis is used, the term assault is usually employed.

There is increasing concern with the violence that women and children, primarily girls, experience during conflict and displacement. While exact estimates of the magnitude of such violence are difficult to determine, it has been documented in Bosnia, Colombia, Darfur in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, and Rwanda, to name a few places (McGinn, 2001; Amnesty International, 2004). Abductions, sexual servitude, and violent rape by armed actors have also been reported. In situations of conflict and displacement, women may be exposed to rape and sexual abuse during the flight, on arrival and in camps, and after the conflict due to increased societal disruption and presence of weapons. Services are difficult to find in these situations, making things even more difficult, and women may be forced to trade sex for food or money.

Child Sexual Abuse and Forced First Sex

Women and girls are most at risk of sexual violence from people they know, whether partners or other family members, boyfriends, neighbors, acquaintances, and less frequently strangers. Precise estimates are difficult to give since sexual violence, particularly during childhood, remains a highly stigmatized and taboo subject in most societies. However, studies from around the world show that approximately 20% of women and 5 to 10% of men report having been sexually abused as children (WHO and ISPCAN, 2006). In the WHO Multi-Country Study the most commonly reported perpetrators of this were family members, particularly male family members other than fathers and stepfathers, although strangers were also an important category. Abuse during childhood has been found to be associated with abuse in later life (Fergusson et al., 1997; Coid et al., 2001). It is also associated with many unhealthy outcomes, particularly behavioral and psychological problems, low self-esteem and depression, and with high, sexual risk-taking behaviors, such as increased number of partners and increased use of alcohol and other substances.

Forced sexual initiation is also a common occurrence. The WHO Multi-Country Study confirmed that a substantial proportion of young women reported their first experience of sexual intercourse as coerced or forced, which is consistent with studies from other countries, such as Uganda (Koenig et al., 2004) and Ghana (Glover et al., 2003). This was more likely to be the case the younger the reported age of the first sexual encounter (Figure 1). Coerced sex has been linked with lower use of modern contraception and of condom at last intercourse, more unwanted pregnancies, and more genital tract symptoms among young girls in Uganda (Koenig et al., 2004).

Figure 1

Percentage of women reporting forced first sexual intercourse by site and by age at time of first sexual experience. Reproduced from Garcia-Moreno C, et al. (2005) WHO Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence. Initial Results on Prevalence, Health Outcomes and Women’s Responses. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Trafficking of Women

This form of violence is hard to document, particularly as it is an illegal practice, often carried out by bands of organized crime. Several organizations collect data on human trafficking, and while there is no agreement on what is the best estimate, there is agreement that it affects hundreds of thousands of people, particularly women and children, who are trafficked across borders in many parts of the world. Often this is for purposes of sex and prostitution, and these women are at increased risk of violence, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and mental health problems (Zimmerman, 2005).

Female Genital Mutilation

Other forms of violence against women include harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is a global concern (WHO, 2008). The WHO estimates that about 100-140 million women have been subjected to FGM in 28 countries in Africa as well as among immigrants in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, and the United States. It appears that FGM is also practiced in some countries of Asia especially among certain populations in India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The practice is being reported in the Middle East, particularly in northern Saudi Arabia, southern Jordan, Iraq, and Yemen. It has been estimated that approximately 3 million girls are mutilated each year (Yoder et al., 2004). The prevalence of FGM varies from country to country, and also varies between different ethnic groups within each country. For example, the prevalence is above 90% in Djibouti, Egypt, Guinea-Conakry, Mali, and Somalia, while the prevalence is only 5% in Niger and Uganda. The most severe form of FGM, Type III, involves excision of the labia minora and labia majora and suturing of the vaginal opening (with only a small opening left for urinating). Since FGM procedures are generally carried out under unhygienic conditions, they commonly result in short- and long-term complications and sequelae.

The Sexual and Reproductive Health Consequences of Violence

Violence against women is associated with a wide range of negative health outcomes (Resnick et al., 1997; Plichta and Falik, 2001; Campbell et al., 2002), including injuries, mental health problems, and adverse effects on sexual and reproductive health (Figure 2). The latter include: unwanted pregnancies and STIs, including HIV/AIDS, gynecological problems (Wijma et al., 2003), and abortion (Holmes et al., 1996). Vesico-vaginal and rectal fistulas can also result from violent rape, and this is particularly common in some conflict settings.

Figure 2

Health outcomes found to be associated with violence against women. Reproduced from Heise L, et al. (1999) Ending violence against women. Population Reports Series L, No. 11. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.

There are both direct and indirect pathways leading to sexual and reproductive ill health. Rape and sexual assault, for example, can directly result in unwanted pregnancy and STIs, including HIV. In addition, violence and fear of violence make it difficult to use contraception and to negotiate condom use and safe sex, thereby also leading to unwanted pregnancy and STIs. Sexual abuse during childhood has been associated with high-risk sexual behavior during adolescence and later in life, including an increased number of partners and early and unprotected sex, and use of alcohol and drugs - all factors that are associated with a higher risk of HIV infection.

Violence against women is associated with HIV and AIDS in a variety of ways. Violence by an intimate partner and fear of violence affect the opportunities for women to protect themselves and to request safer sex practices including condom use, and can also act as a barrier to HIV testing. Rape by an infected person can be responsible for HIV transmission or lead to other STIs and tears and lacerations, which increase the likelihood of HIV infection. Violence also interferes with women’s ability to access care and treatment. Lastly, violence can be an outcome of taking an HIV test and of disclosure of a positive serostatus (Maman et al., 2000; Dunkle et al., 2004).

Intimate partner abuse often persists during pregnancy (although, as stated previously, for some women this may be a protected time during which the violence is reduced). Abuse during pregnancy has been associated with premature delivery, second and third trimester bleeding, low birth weight, risk behaviors such as smoking and substance abuse during pregnancy, and late entry into prenatal care.

FGM, particularly the more severe form, is associated with recurrent urinary tract infections, dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse), and genital ulcers. A recent study in six African countries found that compared to women without FGM, women who had Type III genital mutilation were significantly more likely to experience cesarean section, postpartum hemorrhage, and prolonged hospitalization after delivery. Babies of women with FGM were more likely to require resuscitation and to be stillborn or suffer neonatal death (WHO Study Group on Female Genital Mutilation and Obstetric Outcome, 2006).

Responding to Violence Against Women

Preventing violence from occurring in the first place (i.e., primary prevention) is a public health priority, and the health sector can play an important role in gathering evidence and advocating for this. However, early childhood interventions, community-based and school-based, media, and other approaches to challenge social norms and promote behavior change among men, may be better suited for this (Figure 3).

Figure 3

Examples of information/advocacy campaigns against violence against women. Copyright (C) 2007 Men Can Stop Rape, Inc. Photography by Lotte Hansen.

Health-care services, particularly for sexual and reproductive health, have an important role to play in secondary and tertiary prevention by identifying women who are suffering intimate partner violence as early as possible and contributing to prevent its recurrence and mitigate its effects on women’s health (and lives) and that of their children. Most women come into contact with sexual and reproductive health services at some point in their lives, either for family planning, postabortion care, antenatal care, postpartum care, or treatment for STIs, and these contacts provide an opportunity for early identification and referral. These opportunities are, however, often lost because of health providers’ lack of training, lack of time, and fear of offending women, among other constraints. Wijma et al. (2003), for example, documented that despite the high prevalence of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse among women attending gynecological clinics in five Nordic countries, most victims of abuse were not identified by their gynecologists. This may mean that abused women do not get the care they need. Since violence affects both women’s health and the relevance and effectiveness of the care received, it is important that health-care providers understand and identify the problem as they may knowingly or unknowingly impair women’s ability to deal with this violence, offer inappropriate care, or put women at risk.

Health providers need to help women in abusive relationships to assess their risk and do a safety plan, and ensure that they have access to other services as needed. They also need to document the information in ways that can be used in court if a woman desires to pursue this option, while maintaining confidentiality and privacy. Similarly, with rape and sexual assault, there is a need to ensure that any provider can provide at least the initial management, including treatment of injuries, preservation of forensic evidence, prevention of unwanted pregnancies and STIs, referral for pregnancy termination where legal, and psychosocial support (WHO, 2003).

More needs to be done to educate physicians, nurses, midwives, and other primary health-care providers on gender equality and equity issues and on violence, whether this is a focus of their work or not. The most promising approaches in this regard are those that use a systems approach that goes beyond training individual providers. Profamilia, the family planning association in the Dominican Republic, provides an example of such an approach, in which attention to gender-based violence was systematically integrated throughout all of the organization’s services and at all levels (Population Council, 2006). Typically, these programs address all elements of care including both clinical and psychosocial support and establish partnerships with nongovernmental organizations or other service providers to ensure referral is possible. Others have attempted to provide all types of service in one location, usually in a hospital setting, as is the case with the One Stop Centers in Malaysia and other countries.

Programs need to be adapted to the specific context and the realities of health systems in different parts of the world. Everywhere, sexual and reproductive health-care providers must rise to the challenge of responding to women’s needs. Recognizing how common violence against women is and its impact on women’s health and lives is an important first step.

Conclusion

Violence against women is an important determinant of women’s sexual and reproductive health and a public health concern in all parts of the world. Health providers, particularly those who care for women, need to understand the nature of the problem, its dynamics and impact on women’s health and that of their families, and what they can do to mitigate its consequences and provide the care and support that women need.

See also

Abortion; Child Abuse/Treatment; Child Witness to Violence; Gender Aspects of Sexual and Reproductive Health; Reproductive Rights; Sexual and Reproductive Health: Overview; Sexual Violence


Dr. Claudia García-Moreno is a Medical Doctor with a Masters in Community Medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has worked in public health and primary health care in Latin America, Africa, and Asia for over 20 years. For the last 10 years her work has focused on women?s health, including reproductive health, and on gender and health. She participated as a government delegate in the negotiations on reproductive health and rights at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo (1994) and with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Social Summit (1995) and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995). She was Chief of Women?s Health in WHO from 1994 to 1998. She is currently Coordinator for Gender in WHO and is also coordinating a WHO Multi-country Study on Women?s Health and Domestic Violence Against Women. Garcia-Moreno worked on HIV/AIDS in the late 1980s in east and southern Africa and as a founding member of the UK NGO AIDS Consortium. Currently she is leading WHO’s work on gender and HIV/AIDS, focused on ensuring equitable access to treatment and care for women and the intersections of violence against women and HIV/AIDS. She is the convenor for the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS working group on violence against women and is also a founding member of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative.

Citations

  • Amnesty International Lives blown apart: Crimes against women in times of conflict: Stop violence against women. ACT 77/075/2004 http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGACT770752004 (2004). (accessed January 2008).
  • J. Campbell; C. Garcia-Moreno; P. Sharps Abuse during pregnancy in industrialized and developing countries. Violence against Women, 10, (2004). 770-789.
  • J. Campbell; A. S. Jones; J. Dienemann et al. Intimate partner violence and physical health consequences. Archives of Internal Medicine, 162, (2002). 1157-1163.
  • A. Coid; A. Petruckevitch; G. Feder et al. Relation between childhood sexual and physical abuse and risk of revictimisation in women: A cross-sectional survey. The Lancet, 358, (2001). 450-454.
  • K. Dunkle; R. Jewkes; H. C. Brown et al. Gender-based violence, relationship power and risk of HIV infection among women attending antenatal clinics in South Africa. The Lancet, 363, (2004). 1415-1421.
  • D. M. Fergusson; L. J. Horwood; M. T. Lynskey Childhood sexual abuse, adolescent sexual behaviours and sexual revictimization. Child Abuse and Neglect, 21, (1997). 789-803.
  • C. Garcia-Moreno; H. F.A.M. Jansen; M. Ellsberg; L. Heise; C. Watts Prevalence of intimate partner violence: Findings from the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence. The Lancet, 368, (2006). 1260-1269.
  • E. K. Glover; A. Bannerman; B. W. Pence et al. Sexual health experiences of adolescents in three Ghanaian towns. International Family Planning Perspectives, 29, (2003). 32-40.
  • L. Heise; M. Ellsberg; M. Gottemuller Ending violence against women. Population Reports Series L, No. 11 (1999). Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health Baltimore, MD.
  • L. Heise; C. Garcia-Moreno Intimate partner violence. E. G. Krug; L. L. Dahlberg; J. A. Mercy; A. B, Zwi; R. Lozano, World Report on Violence and Health. (2002). World Health Organization Geneva, Switzerland 87-121.
  • M. M. Holmes; H. S. Resnick; D. G. Kilpatrick; C. L. Best Rape-related pregnancy: Estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 175, (1996). 320-324.
  • R. Jewkes; P. Sen; C. Garcia-Moreno Sexual violence. E. G. Krug; L. L. Dahlberg; J. A. Mercy; A. B. Zwi; R. Lozano, World Report on Violence and Health. (2002). World Health Organization Geneva, Switzerland 149-181.
  • M. A. Koenig; I. Zablotska; T. Lutalo et al. Coerced first intercourse and reproductive health among adolescent women in Rakai, Uganda. International Family Planning Perspectives, 30, (2004). 156-163.
  • S. Maman; J. Campbell; D. C. Sweat; C. A. Gielen The intersections of HIV and violence: Directions for future research and interventions. Social Science and Medicine, 50, (2000). 459-478.
  • T. McGinn Reproductive health of war-affected populations: What do we know?. International Family Perspectives, 26, (4), (2001). 174-180.
  • S. B. Plichta; M. Falik Prevalence of violence and its implications for women’s health. Women’s Health Issues, 11, (2001). 244-258.
  • Population Council Living up to their name: Profamilia takes on gender-based violence (Quality/Calidad/Qualite). (2006). Population Council New York.
  • H. S. Resnick; R. Acierno; D. G. Kilpatrick Health impact of interpersonal violence. 2: Medical and mental health outcomes. Behavioural Medicine, 23, (1997). 65-78.
  • B. Wijma; B. Schei; K. Swahnberg et al. Emotional, physical and sexual abuse in patients visiting gynaecology clinics: A Nordic cross-sectional study. The Lancet, 361, (2003). 2107-2113.
  • World Health Organization Guidelines for medico-legal care of victims of sexual violence. (2003). WHO Geneva, Switzerland.
  • World Health Organization Interagency statement on the elimination of female genital mutilation. (2008). WHO Geneva, Switzerland.
  • World Health Organization International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse Neglect (ISPCAN) Preventing child maltreatment: A guide to taking action and generating evidence. (2006). WHO and ISPCAN Geneva, Switzerland.
  • WHO Study Group on Female Genital Mutilation Obstetric Outcome Female genital mutilation and obstetric outcome: WHO collaborative prospective study in six African countries. The Lancet, 367, (2006). 1835-1841.
  • P. S. Yoder; N. Abderrahim; A. Zhuzhuni Female genital cutting in the Demographic and Health Surveys: A critical and comparative analysis. (2004). ORC Macro Calverton, MD.
  • C. Zimmerman The Health Risks and Consequences of Trafficking in Women and Adolescents: Findings from a European Study. (2003). London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine London.
  • Further Reading

  • M. Ellsberg Violence against women and the Millennium Development Goals: Facilitating women’s access to support. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 94, (2005). 325-332.
  • M. Ellsberg; L. Heise Researching Violence against Women: A Practical Guide for Researchers and Activists. (2005). PATH/WHO Washington, DC.
  • C. Garcia-Moreno; H. A.F.M. Jansen; M. Ellsberg; L. Heise; C. Watts WHO Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence. Initial Results on Prevalence, Health Outcomes and Women’s Responses. (2005). World Health Organization Geneva, Switzerland.
  • A. Guedes Addressing gender-based violence from the reproductive health/HIV sector. A literature review and analysis. (2004). The Population Technical Assistance Project Washington, DC (POPTECH Publication Number 04-164-020) http://www.igwg.org (accessed January 2008).
  • C. C. Murphy; B. Schei; T. L. Myhr; J. Dumont Abuse: A risk factor for low birth weight? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Canadian Medical Association, 164, (2001). 1567-1572.
  • J. Ramsay; C. Rivas; G. Feder Interventions to reduce violence and promote the physical and psychosocial well-being of women who experience partner violence: A systematic review of controlled evaluations. Final Report. (2005). Barts and the London Queen Mary’s School of Dentistry London.
  • A. M. Spitz; M. M. Goodwin; L. Koenig et al. Special Issue: Violence and reproductive health. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 4, (2), (2000). 77-154.
  • United Nations Ending Violence against Women. From Words to Action. Study of the Secretary-General. (2006). United Nations New York.
  • United Nations World report on violence and children. Secretary-General’s Report. (2006). United Nations New York.
  • World Health Organization Addressing violence against women and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. (2005). WHO Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Relevant Websites

    http://www.ippfwhr.org/programs/program_gbv_e.asp - International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR)

    http://www.rhrc.org - Reproductive Health Response in Conflict Consortium

    http://www.stoprapenow.org - Stop Rape Now, UN Action on Sexual Violence in Conflict

    http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/vaw/SGstudyvaw - UN Division for the Advancement of Women, Violence against Women

    http://www.who.int/gender - WHO Department of Gender, Women and Health (GWH)

    http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention - WHO Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability (VIP)

    C. García-Moreno
    World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
    Copyright © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Related Credo Articles

    Full text Article Violence Against Women
    Women's Health Care in Advanced Practice Nursing

    Violence against women is pervasive in U.S. society, occurring in all socioeconomic and ethnic groups. The causes, consequences, and remedies of vio

    Full text Article Women, Violence Against
    Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict

    Scope of the Problem Social Construction of the Discourse Content of the Discourse Race and Class Dimensions of the Discourse ...

    Full text Article Violence Against Women
    Encyclopedia of Race and Crime

    Violence against women, also known as gender-based violence, is a global problem that crosses all levels of society. However, poor women are...

    See more from Credo