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Manpreet Singh
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According to a new survey published by the World Health Organization, over 1 in 3 women worldwide have suffered physical or sexual assault at least once in their lives. In the last decade, this figure has essentially remained steady, stated WHO. The WHO report is the biggest ever study on violence against women in the country. It focuses on data collected between 2000 and 2018 from 161 nations and areas relating to women and girls aged 15 years and more. Therefore, the impact of the pandemic is not taken into account. Lockdowns and related movement restrictions have led to a global “shadow epidemic” – an increase in violence against women and girls around the world.
Globally, 6 percent of women reported sexual assaults by someone else than their husband or partner, however, the true amount is probably more, given the data indicates that sexual abuse is still highly stigmatized and underreported. Although the problem of violence against women is global, it is not uniformly spread. The survey concluded that social and economic inequalities are a major risk factor and women are disproportionately impacted in low- and low-income nations and areas. For example, 51 percent of women encounter violence in Melanesia, in an area of the South-West Pacific Ocean, as compared to 24 percent of women in the U.S.
The research recommends interventions such as reforms in legislation discriminating against women’s education, jobs, and legal rights and for better access to healthcare for women, particularly post-violence treatment. Prevention also involves changing gender stereotypes, starting with the way we educate young children. Preventing violence means tackling fundamental economic and social imbalances, guaranteeing access to education and safe work, and eliminating gender and institutional biased standards. Successful interventions include initiatives to assure the provision of critical services to survivors, to promote women’s organizations, to oppose the unequal societal norm