GENEVA – Domestic violence against women remains a “global epidemic” that affects both developed and developing countries, East and West, UNICEF said in a report released Tuesday.
The report said between 20 percent and 50 percent of women and girls around the world have experienced domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner or family member.
“Violence against women is present in every country, cutting across boundaries of culture, class, education, income, ethnicity and age,” the U.N. children’s agency said in appealing to governments around the world to take measures to stop domestic violence against women.
UNICEF says it plans to present the report — Domestic Violence Against Women and Girls — to a U.N. conference on women opening in New York on June 5.
“Violence against women and girls continued to top a global epidemic that kills, tortures and maims — physically, psychologically, sexually and economically,” UNICEF said in its preliminary report.
The UNICEF study cited statistics gathered from around the world in buttressing its warning that women and girls need more legal protection against domestic violence.
In Sri Lanka, the report said, women who have experienced domestic violence are 12 times more likely than nonvictims to commit suicide.
In the United States, between 35 percent and 40 percent of women who are victims to physical abuse at home are prone to commit suicide.
Irrespective of culture or geographical region, between 40 percent and 60 percent of known sexual assaults within the family are committed against girls aged 15 years and younger.
The UNICEF report took China to task for the sex-selective abortion practice stemming from its one-child policy, citing an official survey that 12 percent of all female embryos were aborted or otherwise unaccounted for in China.
On Japan, the UNICEF report cited a 1993 survey that said 59 percent of 796 women surveyed reported being physically abused by their partners.