WHO calls for action on violence against women

Last year's World Health Organization (WHO) study found that domestic and sexual violence are serious public health problems worldwide.

“We have learned from our work here in the U.S. that we will not end violence by building shelters and training police officers and judges alone,” Family Violence Prevention Fund President Esta Soler said. “That work is crucial, but violence against women will not stop until communities and countries decide to stop it. So our goal must be to change the social norms that tolerate violence and allow women to be treated as chattel.”

Soler also urged lawmakers to support an international Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA), which will be introduced next year. “We unveiled an immensely promising strategy recently when more than 30 groups came together to begin a campaign for an international Violence Against Women Act,” she said. “This legislation will, for the first time, commit our government to end violence against women globally. It will address not only health sector responses, but also the economic conditions that can trap women, by promoting fair property rights and helping women avoid sexual violence on the job. It will focus on changing social norms, and look to men and religious leaders as allies. It will address the horrific levels of rape that too often occur during conflicts and humanitarian crises.”

WHO’s Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women is available at www.who.int/gender/violence/who_multicountry_study/summary_report/en/index.html

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