Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America - Violence Against Women – A Global Perspective

Elsevier, Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, Volume 49, Issue 4, 2022, Pages 809-821
Keyser L., Maroyi R., Mukwege D.

Violence against women affects approximately one-third of women and girls worldwide with an estimate 736 million women aged 15 years and older experiencing intimate partner and/or sexual violence during their lifetime. Prevalence varies by region with rates above the global average reported in many low- and middle-income regions.
At a societal level, risk factors include gender inequality and social norms that promote harmful masculine behaviors, limit women’s economic participation, and privilege men over women.
Violence against women is known to increase during emergencies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, reports of domestic violence increased worldwide. Armed conflict is also characterized by a rise in sexual violence, whereby systematic rape by combatants is used as a weapon of war, often with the aim of physical, psychological, and economic destruction of individuals and communities.
A holistic and integrated approach to care delivery that includes medical and psychosocial care, economic empowerment, and legal aid optimizes health outcomes and promotes rehabilitation and reintegration. Panzi Hospital’s One Stop Center represents a comprehensive care model that has been replicated within and outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo and provides an example for other countries to develop similar health policies and programs.
Justice plays an important role in the healing process; adjudication through the legal system not only holds perpetrators accountable for their crimes but serves to honor and empower survivors of physical and sexual violence.