WHO report highlights violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’

A report came out today from the Wold Health Organization on violence against women and asserts that “physical or sexual violence is a public health problem that affects more than one third of all women globally.”

Let me just quote a few of the shocking numbers:

  • Globally, 38% of all women who were murdered were murdered by their intimate partners, and 42% of women who have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of a partner had experienced injuries as a result.
  • Women who have experienced partner violence are almost twice as likely to experience depression compared to women who have not experienced any violence. (Same number for women to have alcohol-use problems.)
  • Women who experience physical and/or sexual partner violence are
    • 1.5 times more likely to acquire syphilis infection, chlamydia, or gonorrhea. In some regions this applies to HIV.
    • twice as likely to have an abortion than women who do not experience this violence.

In the report WHO has identified the key elements of a health sector response to violence against women which result in the following recommendations:

  • Women centered care
  • Identification and care for survivors of intimate  partner violence
  • Clinical care for survivors of sexual violence
  • Training of health-care providers on intimate partner violence and sexual violence
  • Health-care policy and provision
  • Mandatory reporting of intimate partner violence


Click on the image for the full infographic and for the detailed explanation of the recommendations.


Belgium to make sexism a criminal offence

A little follow up to my earlier post on new legislation that partially have been triggered by a video that features harassment on the streets of Brussels. Belgium’s Equal Opportunities Minister, Joëlle Milquet (Christian democrat), has unveiled plans to make sexism a criminal offence. As Flanders’ main news site, Deredactie writes: “She also wants sexism to be taken into consideration as an exacerbating circumstance when other crimes are being considered. The new bill speaks of “every gesture and utterance that is clearly intended to express contempt vis-à-vis one or more people of a different gender on the basis of their gender or that considers them to be inferior or reduces them to their sexual dimension and that constitutes a serious attack on their dignity”.

The victims of sexual intimidation in public places will be able to file a civil complaint. Local authorities will have the opportunity of punishing sexism using anti-social behaviour fines.”

Rock on,  Joëlle.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia

This video went around the globe, and rightfully so. Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia gave a heated speech in the Australian Parliament on sexism and misogyny, targeted at opposition leader Tony Abbott. Jezebel gave some insight into the history:

“Abbott demanded that Peter Slipper, the Speaker of the House, step down for allegedly sexually harassing an openly gay male staff member in a series of text messages, one of which apparently compared female genitalia to mussels. I know. Juicy already. Abbott then implied that if Gillard defended Slipper, she would be just as sexist as a gay man who talks shit on vaginas. Abbott said, “And every day the prime minister stands in this parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.””

Gillard’s reply is epic. You rarely see something like this in parliaments (unfortunately, because there would be room for some lecturing on our side of the planet as well). My favorite quote: “If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he doesn’t need a motion in the house of Representatives, he needs a mirror.”