Violence against women

Fact sheet
Updated: October 2014

Intimate partner violence and sexual violence

Key facts:

  • PREVALENCE: Evidence shows that nearly one quarter (24.6%) of women in low- and middle-income countries in the Region have faced violence by an intimate partner (1). When taking into account sexual violence by a non-partner, this figure rises to 27.9% (1). Between 13% and 68% of women (who have ever been married or had a partner) have experienced at least one incident of physical violence from an intimate partner (2-7).
  • HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: Intimate partner and sexual violence are major public health issues. Such violence may result in physical, mental, sexual, reproductive and other health problems (8). Violence against women may also increase vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and act as a precursor to several noncommunicable diseases. These consequences are among the top 10 leading causes of death and disability for women in the Region.
  • CAUSES: Violence against women is rooted in gender inequality and constitutes a human right violation. The unequal position of women relative to men and the normative use of violence to resolve conflicts are strongly associated with both intimate partner violence and sexual violence by any perpetrator (8).