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U.N. Women for Peace Association's International Women's Day celebration
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the U.N. Women for Peace Association's International Women's Day celebration in New York City on March 6, 2015 Jemal Countess—Getty Images

Violence Against Women Is at 'Alarmingly High Levels,' U.N. Says

Mar 09, 2015

Violence against women around the world "persists at alarmingly high levels in many forms," according to a new U.N. report.

Presented by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, the U.N. Women report marks the 20th anniversary of a U.N. conference in Beijing on achieving gender equality around the world. But the report finds that so far, "uneven progress" has been "unacceptably slow with stagnation and even regress in some contexts."

The reports findings include these:

  • A World Health Organization study found that 35% of women around the world have experienced either sexual or physical violence from an intimate partner, or sexual violence from a nonpartner.
  • In a study of 42,000 women in the European Union, only a third of victims of intimate-partner violence contacted authorities or sought out support services; of those who experienced violence from someone who wasn't a partner, only one-fourth did so.
  • That same study also found that more than half of all the women surveyed experienced sexual harassment at least one time since turning 15; nearly a fifth had experienced it within a year of the survey.

The report highlighted that victim-blaming attitudes play a role. In one 2010 study of 15 European nations cited by the report, 52% of all respondents agreed that women's behavior contributed to domestic violence; in one of those countries surveyed, 86% of respondents agreed with that statement.

The report also outlines a few steps countries can take to combat violence, including improving data collection about violence against, devoting more resources to support services and launching education and awareness campaigns both in public and within education systems.

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