Violence Against Women Literature Review

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The World Health Organization (WHO) defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in serious physical, sexual or psycho-emotional impairment to women, occurring in public or private life”. The literature indicates that it is a universal crime. Also, it is a serious public health problem due to its high morbidity (Krug et al., 2002). Sexual violence has been defined in the World Report on Violence and Health as any sexual act, attempts to obtain a sexual act, or acts to traffic for sexual purposes, directed against a person using coercion, harassment or advances made by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work (Jewkes et al., 2002).…show more content…
Also, it can lead to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), which include the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other physical injuries. Social consequences may be extreme; for example, a family may feel that the victim has brought dishonor to them and victims may be forced to marry the perpetrator, ostracized, or even killed (Shalhoub-Kevorkian, 1999). Public policies and efforts to educate women about the seriousness of this crime and encourage them to notify the authorities and seek care immediately following the aggression may reduce the complications involving such crime (Vertamatti et al., 2013). Despite the potential negative impact of sexual assault on mental, sexual, and physical health (Postma et al., 2013); most victims do not use professional services and do not report the assault to the police (Wolitzky-Taylor et al., 2011). So, it is difficult to determine the real magnitude of sexual violence and the statistical data regarding sexual violence is limited (Alempijevic et al., 2007). Several reasons contribute to the underreporting of sexual assault cases as many victims do not tell others about the assault, because they fear that they will not be believed or will be derogated (Abbey et al.,…show more content…
Prevalence of sexual violence differs across settings. Reasons may include how sexual violence is measured, the definitions used, the stigma and shame associated with the act, the extent to which disclosure of abuse and assault is encouraged and cultural beliefs and the role of women and children in society. Measuring prevalence is, however, important, hence global efforts to strengthen the tools and methodologies to do so. Data are lacking on the various forms of sexual violence, particularly in developing countries, making it difficult to develop appropriate responses and prevention programs. Prevalence estimates provide policy makers with information to guide policy development and to advocate for resources to do so. It also provides us with insight into where to focus our prevention efforts (Dartnall and Jewkes,
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