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Violence against women has an effect on public health
Violence against women is a significant health and social problem affecting virtually all societies, but often it goes unrecognised and unreported and in many countries it is still accepted as part of normal behaviour.1 The manifestations and forms of violence vary in different settings, but most of the violence against women takes place within families and the perpetrators are almost exclusively men who are or have been in a close relationship with the woman.2
Although reliable data on the prevalence of violence against women by their partners are scarce, especially in developing countries, a growing body of research confirms its existence. Forty population based quantitative studies conducted in 24 countries on four continents revealed that between 20% and 50% of the women interviewed reported that they had suffered physical violence from their male partner.2 In surveys of community based populations, students and primary care patients in industrialised countries, about 5%–62% of the participating women had a history of childhood sexual abuse.3 In a random sample of Swedish women, 40 to 50 years of age, 32% disclosed having suffered violence or abuse during childhood and 15% reported such experience as adults.4 Studies from Malaysia, India, and the Republic of Korea report that 22%–42% of the women interviewed had been physically assaulted by their husband.2 Worldwide it has been estimated …