Wife beating and sexual violence against women are “common, widespread and far-reaching,” says a World Health Organization report released Thursday. The “WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence Against Women” is based on a survey of 24,000 women in 10 nations. It says the percentage of women reporting having been physically or sexually assaulted, or both, in their lifetime ranges from 15% in Japan to 71% in rural Ethiopia, reports USA Today.
“Domestic violence, in particular, continues to be frighteningly common and to be accepted as ‘normal’ within too many societies,” says the report, the first global look at these kinds of assaults. All of the women surveyed had had a male partner at some point. Women in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Japan, Namibia, Peru, Samoa, Serbia and Montenegro, Thailand and Tanzania answered the survey. In the USA, about 1.5 million women a year are assaulted by a husband or boyfriend; about one in six women have been sexually assaulted at some time in their life, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.