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Sexual Violence

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Summary

The World Health Organization classifies sexual violence as “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic [an individual’s] sexuality, using coercion, threats of harm or physical force, by any person regardless of relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.”1 Thirty five percent of women around the world have experienced sexual violence or harassment.2 The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their life.3 In Nigeria, 43 percent of women are married before their 18th birthday, and in South Africa, three out of every four women have experienced a form of abuse in the last year. Thirty seven percent of women in Arab states report having experienced a form of violence in their lifetime.4 Aside from death and physical injury, sexual violence can result in long-term damage to mental, emotional and reproductive health.5 Girls who were married at a young age are particularly vulnerable to domestic abuse.6 One third of girls ages 15 to 19 report physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hand of their husband.7 Adolescent boys are also vulnerable to sexual abuse, but are two times less likely than young women to have been subjected to intimate partner violence. Nearly half of young women worldwide — almost 126 million — believe it is acceptable for a husband to strike his wife.8 Female genital mutilation (FGM) is also threat to young girls around the world — the WHO estimates that over 125 million women and girls have undergone FGM.9 Young women who undergo FGM face extreme pain, shock, hemorrhaging, tetanus or sepsis immediately following the operation, and face long-term consequences such as urinary tract infections, infertility, pain during intercourse, an increased risk of childbirth complications and death, and often require later surgeries.10 Show References
1 https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/resources/publications/en/guidelines_chap2.pdf 2 https://www.cnn.com/2017/11/25/health/sexual-harassment-violence-abuse-global-levels/index.html 3 https://www.nsvrc.org/statistics 4 https://www.cnn.com/2017/11/25/health/sexual-harassment-violence-abuse-global-levels/index.html 5 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs239/en/ 6 https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/what-is-the-impact/ 7 https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Hidden_in_plain_sight_statistical_analysis_Summary_EN_2_Sept_2014.pdf 8 Ibid 9 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/ 10 Ibid
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