Worldwide, about one in four women is a victim of intimate partner violence, according to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday. Furthermore, the researchers report in the scientific journal The Lancet that violence also affects very young girls between 15 and 19.
The research team analyzed data from more than 300 studies and surveys from 161 countries. For example, it examined the situation of approximately two million women aged 15 and older. According to the study, 27 percent of all women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at least once during their relationship. In 2018 alone, 492 million women experienced intimate partner violence. As many as a quarter of the girls between the ages of fifteen and nineteen have already had to deal with it.
“This high number of young victims is alarming. Adolescence and early adulthood are important life stages where the foundations for healthy relationships are laid,” said WHO lead researcher Lynnmarie Sardinha. “The violence these young women experience has long-lasting effects on their health and well-being.”
“It is critical to prevent intimate partner violence in the first place,” said WHO researcher Claudia García-Moreno. But according to the study, governments are not on track to meet the United Nations’ development goal. The UN aims to end violence against women and girls by 2030. So the organization is now turning to governments, communities and society as a whole to take more action in this struggle.