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Violence against Women

Satisfactory Essays
Violence against Women

Gender-based violence has been recognized as a large public health problem as well as a violation of human rights worldwide. One out of three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in another way at least once in her life (www.infoforhealth.org). The abuser is usually a member of the family, introducing the difficult problem in that the abuse usually happens behind closed doors, and is often viewed by cultural norms and legal systems as a family matter rather than a crime.

The statistics available on violence against women are startling. Domestic violence is the major cause of death and disability for European women ages 16 to 44 and accounts for more deaths and injuries than automobile accidents and cancer. The Russian government estimates that over 14,000 women were killed by family members in 1999, but there is still no legislation that specifically addresses domestic violence. In South Africa, more women are shot in the home by relatives than are shot on the streets or by intruders (web.amnesty.org).

Two of the most common forms of abuse in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood are intimate partner abuse and coerced sex. Intimate partner abuse is almost always accompanied by serious psychological abuse and in one quarter to one half of cases is also accompanied by forced sex. Most women that are abused numerous times often become terrified of their partners. Many are scared to speak to someone about the abuse due to the fear that the abuse will get worse if reported (www.infoforhealth.org).

In some countries, women are discriminated against by laws that do not protect from violence in the home. Police and persecutors sometimes refuse to help women abused in the home because of the false assumption that these women bring on the abuse themselves. Women that attempt to testify against their husbands may lose custody of their children. For women of these nations, there is no way out and nobody to listen (web.amnesty.org).

The effects of abuse may be detrimental to a woman’s reproductive health, as well as to other aspects of her physical health and psychological state. Along with increasing injury, physical abuse can cause an array of other problems such as increased risk of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, adverse pregnancy complications, chronic pain, physical disability, depression, and drug and alcohol use. Health care providers often miss opportunities to detect if a woman has been abused by either being unaware, indifferent, or judgmental.
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