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Elimination of violence against women: in search of solutions. WHO / FlGO Pre-Congress Workshop, 30 July - 31 July 1997.
Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], Violence and Injury Prevention, 1999. 91 p. (WHO/HSC/PVI/99.2)Violence against women is present in most societies but it often goes unrecognised and unreported, and is accepted as part of the nature of things. Most violence against women takes place within families and the perpetrators are almost exclusively men, usually partners, ex-partners or other men known to the woman. 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 pervasiveness. For example, 40 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 partners. In addition, surveys also indicate that at least one in five women suffer rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes. These and many other revealing statistics about the extent to which women are subjected to violence in different parts of the world, and about the factors that either put them at risk of such violence or protect them against it were discussed during the pre-congress workshop organised jointly by the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The focus of the workshop was to explore ways that violence against women can be eliminated and how the health sector and organisations such as FIGO and WHO can contribute to this elimination. This emphasis on pro-active involvement rather than a mere passive description of the issue was reflected clearly by the title of the workshop and by the workshop's agenda, which included time for in-depth discussions in working groups on concrete activities that could be undertaken within the health care system to eliminate violence against women. (excerpt)