Understanding Violence III: Guidelines for supporting friends

This is part 3 of the Understanding Violence guidelines series. Take a look at Part 1 and Part 2!

Abusive relationships (e.g. dating abuse, domestic abuse, elderly abuse)

  1. Help your friend make a safety plan. Safety plans are meant to be activated in case of an emergency and can be very different depending on the situation. There are many resources online on how to make a safety plan for different circumstances, but here are some basic elements to consider if your friend is living with their abuser:
    • Identify safe friends and places they could go to in an emergency
    • Help them pack a bag with essential items to take, should they need or decide to leave home. This bag should be kept at work or at a friend’s place.
    • Save emergency phone numbers in their phone (friend’s numbers, a Helpline number, etc) or on a piece of paper they keep in their purse, but in a way that will not arouse suspicion if their abuser goes through their phone/belongings.
    • Ask them what they are already doing to survive, and build on their existing strategies.
  2. If the abuser is a spouse, the victim can apply for a Personal Protection Order (PPO) from the courts. The PPO may also come with mandatory counselling for the perpetrator. A violation of the PPO is grounds for arrest. The victim can also seek legal separation on grounds of abuse.
  3. Other options for someone in an abusive relationship include:
    • Individual counselling for the victim and/or perpetrator
    • Arbitration by family or friends
  4. Resources:
    • Family Violence Specialist Centres:
      • PAVE (Promoting Alternatives to Violence) – 6555 0390
      • TRANS Safe Centre – 6449 9088
  • Project StART Care Corner Helpline (for Mandarin speakers) – 1800 222 0000
  • Samaritans of Singapore (Suicidal) -1800 221 4444
  • Family Service Centres (ComCare Helpline) – 1800 222 0000
  • TWC2 (for migrant workers) – 1800 888 1515
  • AWARE Helpline – 1800 774 5935

Sexual assault or harassment

  1. Look up for information and resources on sexual assault.
    • Services include helpline, email support, WhatsApp chat, befriender service, counselling and case management and a drop-in centre.
    • Understand the laws, policies and procedures to make a police report.
    • Sexual Assault Care Centre hotline – 6779 0282
  2. Look up for information specific to workplace sexual harassment.

Because Love Shouldn’t Have to Hurt

by Carolyn Chan, Change Maker

People are often very quick to blame someone for staying in an abusive relationship. In my opinion, they have no right to judge victims of abuse until they have had firsthand experience. These people tend to be quick to assume that victims do not do enough to walk away from abuse when they do not view the situation through the same lens survivors do.

I was in two abusive relationships. I am in my twenties now, and I am shaped by these experiences I had as a teen and young adult. Even as I write this, I can’t help but feel that twinge of shame despite knowing that abusive behaviour can manifest in any relationship.

I loved my first boyfriend unconditionally and forgave all of his mistakes, even when he kept reminding me that he was the best I was ever going to get. Once, he abandoned me in a part of town I wasn’t familiar with over a small argument. He found fault with me at every turn and blamed me for everything. After several months, I grew increasingly unhappy and I knew things were getting worse. The only reprieve I had was during the school holidays when I spent a week at home to think about how I wanted to proceed with this relationship.

Screenshot_2One evening, I picked up the phone to end the relationship once and for all. It was one of the hardest and most painful things I had to do. He did not make it easy for me and threatened to throw away all the belongings I kept at his apartment. It wasn’t easy and I cried for days but it was worth it. I was never physically abused by him, but even now with my current partner, there are moments when I think to myself, “Why is my boyfriend being so nice to me?”, “Why does he understand?” or “Why isn’t he getting mad at me?”. I was conditioned into thinking being treated badly was the norm.

The second relationship I was involved in was more physically abusive. I was strangled on several occasions and sexually coerced into doing things I didn’t want to. Of course, I didn’t tell anyone this. I did everything he asked because I thought I owed it to him. I was his girlfriend, why would I say no to sex with him for no good reason?

I cheated on him with a colleague and guilt-ridden, came clean to him about it. The hostility I was met with was nothing I had ever expected. I was looked at with contempt and anger and called all kinds of names like slut, dirty whore, and bitch etc. He barricaded me in his room and refused to let me leave to take a breather or a walk. I felt horrible, as though I had committed one of the gravest crimes in the world. I cried the whole day I was at his house.

Before I returned home, he told me never to tell any of my friends or family about this. When I left, I sought help from a counsellor and poured my heart out. I told her every shameful thing that he ever did to me. It was the first time I ever opened up to anyone about it, and it was such a relief! I knew on a deeper level that I deserved better than him. After he had crossed the line, I could no longer trust him anymore. He had lost my trust a lot earlier, but I just didn’t know it at the time.

I know my story isn’t an uncommon one, even my friends and family members have powerful tales of anger, sadness, frustration and betrayal. There are far too many teenagers and young adults who have gone through what I have.

When you are young, it’s sometimes hard to know what you need. Sometimes you don’t know your own worth. We are always taught to respect others, school property and yourself, but we are rarely taught that we deserve respect from others, especially from the men or women we hold dear in our lives.

carolynAbout the Author: Carolyn is a twenty-four year old horse-mad, salsa dance-loving, feminist who recently moved back to Singapore after spending seven years studying overseas in Canada. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Waterloo. She credits her undergraduate experience for igniting her passion for women’s rights especially young women. She is devoted to helping create a world free from inequality and violence. 


No Excuse For Abuse

by Vincent Pak

Picture receiving an invitation card to the party of the year. You make your way there and find only one other guest with an overly-excited host. It’s a dud. You’d think to leave immediately.

Many women do not share the same sentiment when it comes to an abusive relationship. It is immensely difficult for them to do so as they have to deal with distressing emotions, fear of isolation and the lack of support and understanding from others.

Chloe was my classmate back in junior college and she had a boyfriend of two years. On top of being unfaithful, her boyfriend was abusive in multiple ways. During one incident, he locked the both of them in a car and refused to let her out until she conceded that he was correct regarding a disagreement they had. She called her mother to no avail and seriously considered reporting to the police. Chloe eventually gave up on that idea, afraid that they wouldn’t give her situation the attention it deserves. Chloe suffers silently in a dysfunctional relationship, afraid to end her relationship as she fears incurring his wrath.

AWARE conducted a survey in 2012 that showed only 2 in 10 people believe that under no circumstances should a woman remain in an abusive relationship. That also means 4 out of 5 people subscribe to the notion that violence is acceptable and tolerable in a relationship.

Assisting a victim of an abusive relationship requires you to listen with a non-judgemental ear and trust that their story is what they say it is. They are more likely to confide in a friend or a family member than to the authorities, so your encouragement and support will be significant in helping them make their own informed decisions. Both the victim and the confidante must agree that any violence in a relationship is unhealthy and cannot be condoned.

We must realise that a relationship between two people have to be based on mutual respect. Tolerating violence in any form is giving it impetus to be socially acceptable when it should not be. Being a women must no longer be synonymous with a lesser being. Let us all be a part of the fight to end all violence against women.


About the author: Someone once told Vincent that liking pink as a favourite colour was perfectly fine. That was enough reason for him to subscribe to feminism, because it allowed him to drink strawberry milk with confidence. Still serving his National Service, Vincent enjoys the occasional fantasy that sexism is dead in the military, but stalwartly trusts that he won’t be in denial someday. He is passionate about naps, and prefers baby blue over pink now.


How I Coped With Dating Violence

A recount of struggles with dating violence and getting through it by Nicole Laurens, Change Maker

You can watch Nicole read her speech here!

Let me start by asking you this – how many dating violence cases have you heard of? A few? There are many more – some just choose to tell only those they ‘trust’. Which sometimes aren’t exactly the people who will help them get out of the current situation. Some are afraid of the consequences of coming out with their story. I was one of them, but I have turned that fear into something positive to encourage people to realize their self-worth as well as know their rights to live as a human being, not under anyone else. I don’t share my story for any other reason, than to make this group of people realize that they are not alone in their battles.

G44A0914Let me move on to describing what I see as abuse and show you why people take it really lightly. When you think of abuse, you think of… blood? Bruises? Scars? Well dating abuse comes in many forms, mainly physical, emotional and psychological. Violence, in the physical abuse sense, doesn’t just occur on its own. Whatever physical abuse you see or hear about has a much bigger abuse story behind it.

How do these people get into such relationships? Most of the time it starts with low self-esteem, having the habit of giving in and overlooking major flaws instead of rectifying the flaws. Why do they stay? The same reasons, and most commonly, fear. How mine started was with low self esteem. A school jock actually asked me out on a date and I was like, whoa, who me? Nobody was interested in knowing me, not that I was bothered but it was a big thing for me when he asked me out. He used this to his advantage, constantly reminding me later into the relationship that because of him, I was brought up to a higher social status and everyone knew me. Before he came around, I was a nobody. He reminded me of this several times and me, I felt like I owed it to him.

So it starts with these unhealthy thoughts, not respecting yourself and knowing your self worth enough. In other words, not loving yourself. When you start of with these things, you tend to overlook many occasions that disrespect yourself as a human being. I received my first slap a few months into the relationship because I wanted to leave him. Apart from not being allowed to call him by name, to walk away from a heated argument was considering rude instead of mature and not using up all my energy to apologise for something was considered little effort on my part.

So slowly it turned into fights in public areas, during my A level examination period, during work etc. Pulling of hair, pushing, getting screamed at, getting bruises from his really strong grip became norms. I’m not saying I’m an angel, yes, in self defence I learnt that being violent back got us ‘even’. Whenever I cried about getting hit, he’d say, ‘you hit me back the other day’. How did I ever think that was okay? So I got used to it, and I was so afraid to do so many things. Asking for a breakup was a ticket to getting into an emotionally exhausting argument that could last for days and sleepless nights. If he asked for a breakup and I didn’t disagree, I would be accused of being a liar, and getting called many degrading names also became a norm. Fat, ugly, dirty, smelly – if I didn’t date you, you think anyone else would? If you don’t lose weight, don’t be with me. I cried almost everyday until I woke up every single morning planning my day just so I don’t get him angry. If I did something wrong, I had to beg him for forgiveness. This snowballed into something so psychologically abusive that I turned into a completely different person and lost almost all my friends. I graduated with a handful of friends, mostly my classmates. The rest gave up on me, and they asked, ‘Why is she so stupid to stay with him?’ That’s how it snowballed, from a simple mistake on my part – not respecting myself enough. He kept saying, ‘You are the only one who will ever tolerate my attitude and the way I treat you. So when the day comes that I become better, you will be the only one who deserves me at my best.’ Constant forgiveness leads to you waiting for…. Practically nothing.

My colleague lodged a report for me, but my family dropped the charges, why? I wanted a better future for myself and I wanted him to change himself for his future and not ruin it. I wasn’t going to stoop to his level, trying to destroy someone else’s future. I’m better than that.

However, the question asked is such a common question – Why does she stay with someone like that? Or in other cases even, Why is he still with her when she abuses him? I feel that that shouldn’t be the first question on anyone’s mind when they hear about an abuse case. Shouldn’t they be asking instead – Why is he or she abusive? Why does he or she think they have the right to do that? Why does he or she event think that the victim is deserving of all of this? The same concept as when it comes to rape – instead of saying, Don’t get raped, people should be saying, Don’t rape. The antagonist in the situation shouldn’t be made to think that he or she has the right to continue doing what they want as they like.

For me, I knew that I had stop being afraid of all the threats and blackmails he dared to impose on me. I took the risk finally, left, and suffered consequences you cannot imagine. Threats given were carried out, my worst fears. He always said, ‘if you hurt me once, I’ll give you back ten fold’ and guess what, he meant it. I was distraught and my parents were disappointed because he got them involved. I couldn’t leave my house without being afraid that he might pop up somewhere unexpected and give chase. Which happened, of course. I spent my days running, not being able to live my life in peace. I hurt my parents so badly, the people who truly loved me, because of someone who had no clue what love was. Losing friends was hard but losing my parents, even for a week, was unimaginable.

Let me be honest, I was at my lowest – at my weakest. I took pills, a lot of them. I tried pills with alcohol. I took cough syrup. Which I realized, after talking to some people, was something a lot of people were actually taking to forget their problems. Yes I had complications with my body but none enough to end everything. So what I did was write a list of things I would miss, and the list of people who might miss me. Since I had nobody, I tried to get up myself and start talking to friends I lost. I’m glad to say, I got some of them back. It wasn’t easy, definitely. But I did it. I got these friends to support me. It wasn’t easy getting friends who genuinely wanted to help. Some people are just there to judge you, trust me. I’ve met too many of them. All they want to do is get into your life, know your story, then talk about it to their friends. Biggest mistake.

G44A0653I will not let my experience sink into me and affect what I have ahead of me but I will definitely put it into good, positive use. Since my downfall and my struggle to get back up, I have joined AWARE as a Change Maker, mainly because I want to raise awareness of dating violence and abuse as a whole. I plan to attend more workshops and hopefully eventually come up with my own because it irks me that people are in such situations, thinking they have insufficient support or that they’re too weak to step out of it.

To sum up, I lived a little over three years of my life believing that this was the only way to be strong – to hold on and not give up. To accept that there was no other way to save my life. Since I broke free from this prison, I had a few girls come to me telling me their issues. And these girls – they have no idea how to step out of it. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of girls and guys going through this. We think it’s love but love is not about possession or getting your way. Efforts do not mean you have to chase your partner for hours just to show it, or leave them 60 missed calls to prove you’re apologetic.

And you need to realize this.

Abuse, is not about blood, bruises and cuts only. Dating abuse is about how your life is affected by a relationship. Mine was extremely unhealthy but there are a lot of unhealthy relationships out there, no matter how mild you think it is. Step out of it. I allowed myself to let mine snowball into the unthinkable. It was very hard for me to recover. I had nightmares every single week due to my anxiety. When I tried moving on, I had the biggest fears that chased people I just met away.

Find people to speak to. Professionals, or people with experience who will provide that strength for you. You are NOT alone. Find help because some of us are more vulnerable than others. Fear is temporary. The loss of self-respect is extremely detrimental – I learnt that the hard way. There will be people who understand you, but of course you need to know who exactly. No matter what, life goes on. Love yourself before anyone else because when all else fails, only you are gonna there for you.

If you know of anybody going through any form of abusive relationship, please know that whatever you see happening, is only a tenth of what the victim goes through.

Of late, I have been providing support for a few girls who have come to talk to me since I reached out with my story.  Inspired by the event where I was being abused in school and not a single person came to stop it, I am also currently working on a dating abuse awareness campaign to hold in my university, hopefully early 2015.

Thank you.



Rachel Chung is a We Can! Change Maker, volunteer and spokesperson. Rachel speaks publicly about her experience to show support to victims and challenge the social attitudes that silence them. by Rachel Chung, Change Maker


At first it was verbal: insults, accusations, mockery. After our first child was born, he sniped at me about my weight gain. When I said he was insensitive, he retaliated with a vicious barrage of Hokkien vulgarities.

This continued whenever I “stepped out of line”. I downplayed it at first. But when his verbal admonishments were not keeping me “in rein”, he started shoving me. It got worse – slapping, punching – especially when I earned more than he did. The abuse eventually got so bad that I ended up in the hospital.

Turning to Family

My in-laws were very traditional. They saw the husband as head of the household. My ex mother-in-law advised me to “not answer back”. His siblings also chose to ignore the “embarrassment”. At a family dinner they ignored my bruises,and instead talked about their business and recent holiday to London.

My family encouraged me to divorce him, but they did not offer to let my children and I move in with them. Without that assurance, I felt so insecure, like I was left all alone to fend for my children and myself.

“But Think of the Children!”

Many pressures bind women to violent relationships. Her partner might manipulate her into thinking she is inadequate and worthless; without support from family, friends and society, it is difficult to find the confidence to leave.

Financially, leaving can have serious consequences on the victim and her family, especially if her partner controls her finances or jeopardises her employment. Moreover, the stigma of being a divorcee remains strong in our society.

I faced some of this. Some church members felt I should stay “as long as the kids are not touched”. This made me feel ignored and dehumanised. It wasn’t in the children’s best interests either. What about the trauma it caused them to witness violence at home, or the risk to their safety? The breaking point came one night when my daughter, awakened by the noise of our fighting, came to my defence. He shoved her away. I fought back, and later filed for divorce.

Leaving: New Battles and New Beginnings

The damage to my morale and self-worth from the emotional abuse I had endured was no less harmful than the physical injuries. Violence isn’t always visible. It isn’t always black and blue. We need to recognise and reject all forms of violence around us.

Some women feel ashamed. I’ve been through it. “Was I abused because I wasn’t good enough as a woman or a wife?” Gender biases in families and society perpetuate these beliefs, and we internalise them. We feel like we somehow, “asked for it.”

But it is not our fault. We did not bring this upon ourselves, and I refuse to feel guilty or embarrassed. I want to get this message to abused women out there: it is not your fault and you should not be ashamed in any way.

 More resources on seeking help can be found here.


Thoughts on violence against women in Singapore vs. Norway

by Catharina Borchgrevink, Change Maker

 Violence against women is very much a global problem. Although this particular We Can! campaign focuses on women in Singapore, this issue relates to women all over the world. Some issues are more relevant to Singapore as a society, but at the core we find the same harmful gender stereotypes everywhere, crossing national borders.

I am a Norwegian who recently relocated to Singapore. Norway and the other Scandinavian countries are by no means perfect societies for women. There is definitely room for improvement when it comes to workplace discrimination, sexist attitudes and behaviour, violence against women and gender stereotypes. However, gender parity in these countries is more in place on a global scale.

Many foreigners, including myself, are mostly unaware of the state of women’s rights in Singapore. On the surface, Singapore is clean, safe, and women have equal rights to education and healthcare. A closer look shows the cracks: lack of paternity leave, inequalities in the distribution of leadership positions, no benefits for single mothers and perhaps most shocking of all, the non-criminalisation of marital rape.

The latest statistics show that 1 in 10 women in Singapore will experience physical abuse by a man during their lifetime, and 6 in 10 of these women will suffer repeated abuse. These figures are not unique to Singapore. The UN states that 1 in 3 women worldwide will suffer from abuse. In Norway, it’s 1 in 10 women. Even in the most “gender equal” of societies, women are at risk, especially in their own homes. Most rapes and assaults do not take place in scary alleys and parks, they occur at home, by someone familiar or known to the victim.

One particular issue that needs to be addressed for Singapore is that marital rape is not recognised as a crime. Although rape is punishable up to 20 years, marital rape is an exception of this ruling. It should not matter what relationship the woman has to the perpetrator – after all, rape is still rape, and for many women the fact that the person committing the crime is someone they should be able to trust greatly compounds the severity of the crime. In Norway, the penal code does not make an exception for rape that occurs within a marriage or partnership—it is punishable up to 10 years in prison. However, receiving maximum penalty is rare, and even in Norway cases are often dismissed on the grounds of a lack of evidence. Underreporting is a problem both in Singapore and in Norway, and for many women, it is feelings of shame that stops them from reporting the rape. Where do these feelings come from?

Ingrained feelings of shame after a rape are common worldwide, including in Norway. One big difference however is that these feelings stem from the victim’s own emotions, and not the family of the victim. Cultural norms of keeping up appearances for the family, and family reputation, are much more common in Singapore and Asia than in Scandinavia. Upon reporting or coming out as a victim of sexual assault, the reaction from the victim’s family should be supportive and helpful, not insinuating shame or covering up the crime, which sadly often happens when families are concerned with keeping one’s reputation.

Personally, this culture of familial shame and victim-blaming is unfamiliar, and unexpected of Singapore as a society which, on the surface, appears to be progressive in terms of gender parity. While I can relate to family reputation being important, being willing to hide a crime is quite uncommon in Norway.

Having said that, even in Norway, the tendency to blame the victim still exists. People raise questions on what the woman was wearing or if she was drunk, showing that even across cultures, violence against women is indeed a global problem.

The root causes of violence against women have to be viewed from a global perspective, as it is not contained to a Singaporean or Asian context. Cultural norms of shame and victim blaming are more complicated issues to tackle, but we should not be afraid of stepping up and speaking out against these challenges. You, too, can make a difference in your own community—start a discussion of how Singapore can become a safer place for women today!


This is your life. Get tested.

The way that we talk to those around us about HIV, marriage and sex can put women’s health at risk.

This insight lies behind ‘This is your life. Get tested.’, a new video released today by the We Can! campaign to mark World Health Day. The video depicts a woman sitting at a doctor’s office, trying to decide whether to take an HIV test, as she believes her husband has been having sex with other women. As she waits for the doctor, memories of encounters with various figures in her life flash in front of her. These include her husband coercing her to have sex without protection despite her wishes, and her family and friends expressing scepticism and disbelief at her situation, or blaming her for it.

“This video illustrates how societal support for women’s sexual empowerment within marriage can be crucial to women’s health and well-being”, said Kokila Annamalai, the We Can! Campaign Coordinator. “Research on women who report contracting HIV from their husbands shows that sexual disempowerment plays a key role in their experience. As a society we must affirm women’s right to say no to sex, or to insist on a condom within marriage. We also want to encourage all women who think they may be at risk of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) to get tested”.

The video has been crafted based on a five-year qualitative study commissioned by the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE). The study was led by a team from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, and supported by the Department of STI Control, National Skin Centre and the Communicable Disease Centre.

Through in-depth interviews with 60 women, the study shows that among respondents who were married and diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, more than half reported that their husbands had infected them. Many of them knew that their husbands were having sexual relations outside of the marriage, but felt disempowered to protect themselves from STIs by refusing sex or ensuring the use of condoms. This may be attributed to unequal power relations between husband and wife, as well as traditional gender norms expecting women to be sexually submissive to their husbands. This is reflected in some of the women’s reports that their husbands became violent when asked to use a condom. As a result, some women have been forcibly infected by HIV/AIDS through marital rape. Yet the Penal Code (Section 375(4)) continues to put women’s health at risk by giving immunity to husbands who rape their wives.

The study also found that HIV-infected women’s difficulties were compounded by stigmatisation by unsympathetic family, friends, workplaces and community. This deters some women who are at risk from getting tested and seeking support. The video aims to raise awareness of the importance of women prioritising their own health and lives, even if friends and family are less than supportive.


Things you didn’t know about sexual violence

[two_third]ActionAid Australia has created an infographic that illustrates the impact sexual violence has on the lives of girls and women in many different cultures. Sexual violence remains a widespread and persistent reality around the world. It is not confined to a few incidences, but can form the conditions of a woman’s entire lifetime.[/two_third]


Sexual Violence Against Women - The Hard Truths



“Just A Bad Day” shines a spotlight on a dark corner of society

[two_third] Our forum theatre piece, “Just A Bad Day”, has been staged before a number of audiences since its premiere in June. It has been garnering media attention for its spotlighting of an issue that has been kept in the wings for too long.

Forum theatre intervention

The Online Citizen applauded the “safe environment” that the forum theatre provides to members of the audience who intervene. It is heartening that men and women alike have been standing up to intervene during the performances. Knowingly or not, the audience is acting on two important ideas – that the solution is not confined to a single party in the conflict, and that bystanders also incur responsibility if they do not act despite perceiving the warning signs.

The forum theatre experience encourages and empowers people to make such interventions in real life, which is when the need really arises. Choosing to step into a matter that convention dictates is private and “none of your business” can be a daunting task. But indeed, from the personal stories of Change Makers involved in the play – which you can read here – all it takes is a bit more awareness and belief in your power to set change in motion.

The Inter Press Service cast “Just A Bad Day” and the We Can campaign against the apparent strides that women in Singapore have been making over the years. Singapore ranks 13th in a gender development index by the United Nations, ahead of countries like the US, UK, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. Women attain high levels of education and employment. But gender stereotypes and cultural discrimination persist in spite of the reality of women’s achievements. The double burden on women – as wives and mothers, and income earners – has also only been made heavier.

In the face of fear, indifference, convention, and stereotype, “Just A Bad Day” is planting the seeds of transformation in an original and effective way. Enthusiastic response means we have been attracting new opportunities to bring the forum theatre to even more communities around Singapore, so do check back soon for more! [/two_third]


Violence against women: bruises of a global shame exposed


violence is not our cultureThe first international study of the prevalence of physical and sexual assaults shows a third of women worldwide have suffered beatings or worse in their daily lives.

According to The National, Dr Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO, said the findings needed to be taken seriously and they sent “a powerful message that violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions”.

It is the first time estimates have been released based on population data from such a wide spectrum of countries.

And even countries that did not supply data for the study needed to eliminate their tolerance for abuse of women and improve their methods of tackling it, the report says.

“The findings send a powerful message that violence against women is not a small problem that only occurs in some pockets of society, but is a global public health problem of epidemic proportions, requiring urgent action,” it states.


Violence takes it toll in many ways, the report shows. Women who experienced what it calls “intimate-partner violence” have higher rates of depression, HIV, injury and death, and are more likely to have babies with low birth weights than those who are free of violence.


This article has been edited on 5 July 2017.