“Ending Violence Against Women”, Population Reports, Series L. No. 11

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Around the world at least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or oth- erwise abused in her lifetime. Most often the abuser is a member of her own family. Increas- ingly, gender-based violence is recognized as a major public health concern and a violation of human rights.
The effects of violence can be devastating to a woman's reproductive health as well as to other aspects of her physical and mental well-being. In addition to causing injury, violence increases women's long-term risk of a number of other health problems, including chronic pain, physical disability, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression. Women with a history of physical or sexual abuse are also at increased risk for unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Yet victims of violence who seek care from health professionals often have needs that providers do not recognize, do not ask about, and do not know how to address.

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