Violence against women is a global “epidemic”

The World Health Organization has declared violence against women an epidemic global health problem. They base this on the fact that one in three woman has faced sexual or intimate partner violence. Think Progress reports:

“After analyzing the mental, sexual, reproductive, and physical health consequences faced by victims of violence, the report characterized this issue as a global health epidemic.

…The report focused on health consequences of violence against women, finding that victims of intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence were twice as likely to face depression and almost twice as likely to develop alcohol use disorders. They are also more likely to have low birth-weight babies and to contract sexually transmitted infections, and 42 percent of them suffer serious injuries as a result. The report also found that 38 percent of murders of women are committed by intimate partners.”

This number is alarming because it really betrays how deeply wedded we are to patriarchal ideologies and practices on a global scale. These terms are to abstract systems that folks opt in or out of. They are very real realities for women that have deadly impacts.

I think that the epidemic language perfectly captures the seriousness of violence against women and the need to reevaluate patriarchal institutions, systems, and discourse.

So tell me again why feminism is no longer needed? Don’t worry, I’ll wait….

Feministing's resident "sexpert", Sesali is a published writer and professional shit talker. She is a queer Black girl, fat girl, and trainer. She was the former Training Director at the United States Student Association and later a member of the Youth Organizing team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She received her bachelors in Women's and Gender Studies from Depaul University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master's in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. A self identified "trap" feminist, and trained with a reproductive justice background, her interests include the intersections of feminism and: pop culture, youth culture, social media, hip hop, girlhood, sexuality, race, gender, and Beyonce. Sesali joined the team in 2010 as one of the winners of our So You Think You Can Blog contest.

is Feministing's resident sexpert and cynic.

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  • smash

    I wish the report named the agent.

    Violence against women is overwhelmingly committed by men. Thus, as Jackson Katz says in *The Macho Paradox*, it is a men’s issue as well as a women’s issue.

    • Dan

      Domestic violence is also a people’s issue; but violence against men already isn’t deemed a matter worthy of not specifically excluding from the discussion.

  • Feminist on the Bayou

    I really appreciate the point that “This number is alarming because it really betrays how deeply wedded we are to patriarchal ideologies and practices on a global scale.” The program Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center works with victims of domestic and sexual violence abroad and commonly see survivor response protocols all over the world. The people who call the crisis line are often describing inadequate or nonexistent services and victim blaming or shaming attitudes in the US and around the world. Its rare to see high profile projects that unite the experiences of victims all over the world and highlights the amount of support they need on every level. Sadly, this program, the only one of its kind, is in real danger of closing as a result of funding cuts and the large population it serves, an estimated 7 million Americans living abroad and the 68 million who travel each year, will be completely without its primary direct service provider.