Violence against women is a major public health problem and a violation of human rights. By definition, violence against women is defined as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” by The United Nations.
Violence against women can have varying consequences on the physical, sexual, and psychological well-being of women, and can affect their children’s health and well-being. To help spread awareness of this chronic and debilitating public health issue, the attorneys at Fernandez & Karney have compiled an exhaustive list with nearly every statistic, study, and fact available about violence against women.
The COVID-19 Pandemic and Violence Against Women
Violence against women and girls is underreported and emergency data indicates an increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. Confinement and physical distancing have affected the livelihoods of women and also diminished the access to services to help women and girls experiencing violence.
Pandemics like COVID-19 can exacerbate not only violence within the home, but also within the health care sector. Harassment and other forms of violence are more prevalent both in person and online. The risk of sexual exploitation in exchange for health case services have also become more likely.
- 1 in 3 women have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
- This includes a range of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing, stalking, rape) and in some cases might not be considered “domestic violence.”
- 1 in 7 women have been injured by an intimate partner.
- 1 in 4 women have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
- Worldwide, almost one third (27%) of women aged 15-49 years who have been in a relationship report that they have been subjected to some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner.
- Approximately 1 in 5 women who experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.
- Almost half of all women and men in the U.S. have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).
- The lifetime economic cost associated with medical services for intimate partner violence (IPV)-related injuries, lost productivity from paid work, criminal justice and other costs, was $3.6 trillion. The cost of IPV over a victim’s lifetime was $103,767 for women.
- Women in the U.S. are 11 times more likely to be killed with guns than women in other high-income countries.
- Female intimate partners are more likely to be killed with a firearm than all other means combined.
- The presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%. More than half of women killed by gun violence are killed by family members or intimate partners.
- 19.3 million women in the United States have been stalked in their lifetime.
- According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 1,006,970 women are stalked annually in the United States.
- 1 in 7 women have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed. (NCADV)
- While most women and men first experience being stalked as adults, approximately 21% of female victims reported being stalked as minors.
- More than 13% of college women indicated that they had been stalked during one college year.
- 25% of the stalking incidents among college women involve cyberstalking.
- About 68% of female victims experienced threats of physical harm during their lifetime.
- Nearly 54% of female victims experienced stalking before the age of 25.
- Two-thirds (66.2%) of female stalking victims were stalked by current or former intimate partners.
- 76% of women murdered by an intimate partner were stalked first; 85% of women who survived murder attempts were stalked.
- 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted before their murder were also stalked in the last year prior to their murder.
- 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to the police before they were killed by their stalkers (NCADV).
- 83% of stalking incidents were not reported to campus law enforcement or to the local police force.
- 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
- Nearly 1 in 10 women (9.4%) in the U.S. have been raped by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- As of 1998, an estimated 17.7 million American women had been survivors of attempted or completed rape.
- 90% of adult rape survivors are female.
- Women ages 18-24 who are college students are 3 times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. Females of the same age who are not enrolled in college are 4 times more likely (RAINN).
- Approximately 35% of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults, compared to 14% of women without an early rape history.
- Most female survivors of completed rape (79.6%) experienced their first rape before the age of 25; 42.2% experienced their first completed rape before the age of 18 years.
- A majority of female survivors of completed or attempted rape first experienced such victimization early in life, with 81.3% (nearly 20.8 million survivors) reporting that it first occurred prior to age 25 (NSVRC).
- Estimates suggest 13% of women will experience sexual coercion (unwanted sexual penetration after being pressured in a non-physical way) in their lifetime; 27.2% of women experience unwanted sexual contact.
- 43% of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, digital, verbal, or other controlling abuse.
- Women and girls are disproportionately affected by human trafficking, accounting for 71% of all victims (Safe Horizon).
- The International Labour Organization estimates that 99% of the adults and children forced into sexual exploitation in 2016 are female.
- The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14 years old. Many survivors are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children (ASPE).
- In 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. In some parts of the world, trafficking women is the norm (UNODC).
- There are approximately 800,000 people trafficked across international borders annually and, of these, 80% are women or girls and 50% are minors (NCBI).
- According to The Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC), the highest percentage of female survivors can be found in the 18-20 age group.
- According to The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the average age of female trafficking survivors is 26 years old.
- The average duration of trafficking for a female victim is roughly 1.8 years (IOM).
- A quarter of female human trafficking victims were recruited by an intimate partner and over a third were recruited by a family member or relative (CTDC).
- The most common means of control used on female trafficking victims includes restrictive movement, psychological abuse, threats, physical abuse, and false promises (CTDC).
- The biggest risk factors for sex trafficking include:
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- Mental health issues
- Learning disabilities
- Poor self-esteem
- Past experiences of running away
- Family rejection related to LGBTQ identification
- Living in a group home or shelter
- Using drugs
- Lack of support systems
- Family members who have been trafficked or bought sex
- Parents who use drugs
- Living in an area with a large influx of tourists or cash-rich workers
- History of juvenile status offenses
- In 2014, nearly 1,393 female children were involved in potential human trafficking cases involving minors in the United States.
What You Can Do to Prevent Violence Against Women
Most of us participate in a culture that supports, encourages, and tolerates violence against women and girls, even in small ways. Below are both large and small things that can be done to help stop violence against women and promote safety and equality:
- Educate yourself on the topic of violence against women by reading, learning the facts, and the prevalence of it in our communities
- Believe survivors of domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, and trafficking
- Speak out against violence
- Question assumptions about gender roles
- Respect and embrace the uniqueness of all people
- Strive towards equality
- Avoid making threats or using coercion to get sexual satisfaction
- Stop buying music that glorifies violence and the sexual objectification of women
- Compliment women and girls on things other than their appearance
- Hold perpetrators accountable for disrespecting women and partners
- Volunteering in an organization dedicated to helping women
Organizations Actively Helping Women
There are various organizations actively helping women in the United States. Below are a few organizations you can get involved with:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH)
- The National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women (NCDBW)
- Futures Without Violence
- National Organization for Women (NOW)
- Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE)
- End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI)
- Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP)
- National Human Trafficking Hotline