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Gender-based Violence: A Global “Silent” Epidemic

1 in 3 women globally in 2010 experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner. In 20 of 24 countries, most women tell no one they experienced violence. On average, only seven percent of women who experienced violence ever reported it to a formal source.

Early last month, The Daily Beast covered an alarming study on global gender-based violence. In this study assisted by Amber Peterman, of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Jennifer Bleck, lead researcher Tia Palermo reveals the silence and obscurity of gender-based violence. Around the world, gender-based violence is being overlooked, as victims fear coming forward, along with numerous systems that fail to protect women. Gender-based violence is any act of physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering, whether occurring in public or in private, based on one’s gender.

“Women don’t trust the formal sector,” said Ravi Verma, director of the Asia Regional Office in New Delhi of the D.C.-based International Center for Research on Women. “The police system is deeply entrenched into the same notions of patriarchy and gender inequitable perspectives and women don’t feel comfortable that they will be heard or their report will be taken in the right spirit.”

Instead, women are more likely to turn to friends and family. Women have found that formal institutions don’t work in low-income or underdeveloped areas; therefore, they seek help from those they can trust.

Among the top reasons for women not reporting abuse were embarrassment, fear, a belief that disclosure was pointless, and the notion that women must endure violence because it is a normal part of life.

Compass Center for Women and Families offers domestic violence crisis services, including support groups and a 24-hour crisis hotline: 919-929-7122. If you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse, we are here to listen and lend support.

For more information on this report, click here for The Daily Beast’s article.

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