International organizations, national governments, traditional human rights groups and the press have ignored, denied or paid little attention to violence against women and girls, which is a major public health and human rights issue across the world.

Facts & Reports:

United Nations


 World Health Organization (WHO)
According to the WHO:

Amnesty International:

Literature Review

Dr. Martin Donohoe (2003) argued that there has been an increasing focus in identifying victims of domestic violence and preventing intimate partner violence. Yet much less attention has been focused on the problem of individual and societal violence against women in the developing world.  Donohoe (2003) added that women worldwide suffer verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. It has been estimated that 1 woman in 3 has been beaten, forced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. In many nations today, women are still considered their husband's property, wife beating is justifiable, and spousal rape is legal. In many developing countries there is no availability of healthcare and there is a lack of social support services for women and their children. Many women suffer in silence, both physically and emotionally. Social forces serve to limit victims' access to safe spaces and, simultaneously, perpetuate intimate partner violence. These forces include poverty, impaired access to employment and education, divorce restrictions, salary inequalities, political and legal marginalization, and limited access to reproductive health services (Donohoe 2004).
Violence against women, such as dowry-related murder, bride burning, honour killings, forced abortion and sterilization, forced prostitution, and child prostitution and sex slavery, is seen more frequently in the developing world than in the western world, according to the World Development Report (1993).  Selective abortion, malnutrition, and killing of female infants are common and may account for the excess of male to female births in China and for higher infant mortality rates among girls in numerous poorer nations.
To examine the prevalence of domestic violence (DV) in developing countries, I have chosen a research in Iran’s University of Medical Sciences Hospitals on violence against women during pregnancy, which could be high and is associated with significant psychological and physical impairment for mothers and fetuses (Shayesteh Jahanfar & Zahra Malekzadegan, 2007).
The chief objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of DV in expectant mothers who have attended the (IUMS), and to estimate the occurrence of different kinds of physical and emotional violence in the Iranian pregnant population and to examine its associated risk factors. This cross-sectional study was done from March through July 2005 in the 4 main hospitals of Kerman, Iran, which had maternity units. In total, 416 out of 460 women who were asked to participate agreed to be interviewed, a 90.4% response rate. All respondents were interviewed privately during the first 48 hours after delivery. The mean age was 28, and all were married. Most of the women were urban residents (89.2%), and the majority of them were multiparous (78.8%). Nearly 16% of mothers said the pregnancies were unintended. In total, 35% (95% confidence interval: 30%-40%) of women had during the pregnancy experienced one or more episodes of emotional violence inflicted by their husbands, and 106 women (25%; 95% confidence interval: 21%-30%) had experienced at least one episode of physical violence. The highest odds of domestic violence during pregnancy were associated with unintended pregnancies (odds ratio: 7.66; 95% confidence interval: 3.45-16.99) and multiparous pregnancies (odds ratio: 6.88; 95% confidence interval: 3.46-13.68). Considering the high prevalence of different types of domestic violence during pregnancy, it should be regarded as a priority for health policy experts in Kerman and possibly Iran.
In a cross-sectional study, 1800 subjects were interviewed using a modified questionnaire to determine the prevalence of DV. Consecutive sampling was performed in six major hospitals of IUMS according to the number of referred patients. The prevalence of DV was found to be 60.6% including three types of physical, psychological, and sexual violence with a prevalence of 14.6, 60.5 and 23.5% respectively. Severe physical DV was 5.3%. Severe psychological and sexual DV were also found in about 24.6 and 3.4% of cases respectively. DV had a high prevalence in this study. It is recommended that all accessible pregnant women be screened for DV (Jahanfar, & Malekzadegan, 2007).
Iranian women and women from Muslim countries are not just suffering from unjust laws against them, but from religion and the specific restrictions of the Muslim religion on women as well. Women are still being stoned to death if they do adultery, whereas in western countries, the worst that happens to a woman who committed adultery is divorce.
A study done in Lusaka, Zambia by Laura Murray and colleagues (2001) regarding violence against women revealed that HIV and violence are two major public health problems. It showed these two ever-increasing problems to be connected and relevant to international mental health issues and HIV-related services. Qualitative research is important due to the shortage of literature in this field in developing countries, cultural influences on mental health syndromes, and the sensitive nature of the topic.
This study investigated the mental health issues of an HIV-affected population of women and children in Lusaka, Zambia through a systematic qualitative study. Two qualitative methods resulted in the identification of three major problems for women: domestic violence (DV), depression-like syndrome, and alcohol abuse; and for children: defilement, DV, and behaviour problems. Domestic violence and sexual abuse were closely linked to HIV and alcohol abuse. This study illustrated the local perspective of the overlap between violence and HIV, as well as the multiple pressures and injustices on women and their children.
The World Health Organization released its World Report on Violence and Health in 2002. Former South African president Nelson Mandela wrote of violence against women as one example of a legacy of suffering, referring to “a legacy that reproduces itself, as new generations learn from the violence of generations past…But [we are not] powerless against it.” Six years have passed since then, and nothing much has changed in developing countries.  The human rights of women throughout the Middle East and North Africa are systematically denied by each of the countries in the region, regardless of the diversity of their political systems. Many governments regularly suppress civil society by restricting freedom of the press, expression, congregation and student/schools assembly. These restrictions adversely affect both men and women, however women are subject to a host of additional gender-specific human rights violations.
Family matters in countries as varied as Iran, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia are governed by religion-based personal status codes. Many of these laws treat women essentially as legal minors under the eternal guardianship of their male family members.
Family, penal, and citizenship laws throughout the region demote women to a subordinate status compared to their male counterparts.
This legal discrimination undermines women's full personhood and equal participation in society and puts women at an increased risk for violence. For instance, in Iran the law of family court denies women equal rights with men with respect to marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance. Family decision-making is thought to be the exclusive field of men, who enjoy by default the legal status of "head of household."
Overall, women in the Middle East and Africa are denied of their basic rights and freedoms in any imaginable situation on a daily basis.
Life for western women has different faces of abuse and violence, usually involving their partner or crime. Each year, 1 million women in the United States report being physically abused by their intimate partners; half of these victims report a physical injury (Rennison, 2002). The below table is part of Rennison’s research, a crime report from 1998.

The US Department of Health and Human Services printed the report, which means there is a government attempt to understand the situation, with the result that there are some services, protections, laws, and crime prevention in place. Whereas in the Middle East the laws are stacked firmly against women’s rights.
The US Department of Health and Human Services printed the report, which means there is a government attempt to understand the situation, with the result that there are some services, protections, laws, and crime prevention in place. Whereas in the Middle East the laws are stacked firmly against women’s rights.

Nasreen Pejvack, 2006