More than physical abuse, the effect of verbal abuse on women is killing as it kills the morale of any woman

More than physical abuse, the effect of verbal abuse on women is killing as it kills the morale of any woman.It has damaging psychological effects. It kills and hurts both mind and body.Men tend to shift toward this while trying not to physically abuse women . It is important to say that a woman who constantly experiences verbal abuse loses motivation; the whole essence of living, prone to mistakes and  the psychiatric effect is worst.

According to WHO, ‘about 35% of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one-third (30%) of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner, in some regions this is much higher. Furthermore, globally as many as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners.

Intimate partner and sexual violence are mostly perpetrated by men against women. Child sexual abuse affects both boys and girls. International studies reveal that approximately 20% of women and 5–10% of men report being victims of sexual violence as children. Violence among young people, including dating violence, is also a major problem.

Risk factors

Factors associated with intimate partner and sexual violence occur at individual, family, community and wider society levels. Some factors are associated with being a perpetrator of violence, some are associated with experiencing violence and some are associated with both.

Risk factors for both intimate partner and sexual violence include:

  • lower levels of education (perpetration of sexual violence and experience of sexual


  • exposure to child maltreatment (perpetration and experience);

  • witnessing family violence (perpetration and experience);

  • antisocial personality disorder (perpetration);

  • harmful use of alcohol (perpetration and experience);

  • having multiple partners or suspected by their partners of infidelity (perpetration); and

  • attitudes that are accepting of violence and gender inequality (perpetration and experience).

Factors specifically associated with intimate partner violence include:

  • past history of violence;

  • marital discord and dissatisfaction;

  • difficulties in communicating between partners.

Factors specifically associated with sexual violence perpetration include:

  • beliefs in family honour and sexual purity

  • ideologies of male sexual entitlement and

  • weak legal sanctions for sexual violence.

The unequal position of women relative to men and the normative use of violence to resolve conflict are strongly associated with both intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence.

Health consequences

Intimate partner and sexual violence have serious short- and long-term physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems for survivors and for their children, and lead to high social and economic costs.

  • Violence against women can have fatal results like homicide or suicide.

  • It can lead to injuries, with 42% of women who experience intimate partner violence

    reporting an injury as a consequence of this violence.

  • Intimate partner violence and sexual violence can lead to unintended pregnancies,

    induced abortions, gynaecological problems, and sexually transmitted infections,

    including HIV. The 2013 analysis found that women who had been physically or sexually

    abused were 1.5 times more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection and, in some

    regions, HIV, compared to women who had not experienced partner violence. They are

    also twice as likely to have an abortion.

  • Intimate partner violence in pregnancy also increases the likelihood of miscarriage,

    stillbirth, pre-term delivery and low birth weight babies.

  • These forms of violence can lead to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep

    difficulties, eating disorders, emotional distress and suicide attempts. The same study

    found that women who have experienced intimate partner violence were almost twice as

    likely to experience depression and problem drinking. The rate was even higher for

    women who had experienced non partner sexual violence.

  • Health effects can also include headaches, back pain, abdominal pain, fibromyalgia,

    gastrointestinal disorders, limited mobility and poor overall health.

  • Sexual violence, particularly during childhood, can lead to increased smoking, drug and

    alcohol misuse, and risky sexual behaviours in later life. It is also associated with

    perpetration of violence (for males) and being a victim of violence (for females).

Impact on children

  • Children who grow up in families where there is violence may suffer a range of

    behavioural and emotional disturbances. These can also be associated with perpetrating

    or experiencing violence later in life.

  • Intimate partner violence has also been associated with higher rates of infant and child

  • mortality and morbidity (e.g. diarrhoeal disease, malnutrition).

Social and economic costs

The social and economic costs of intimate partner and sexual violence are enormous and have ripple effects throughout society. Women may suffer isolation, inability to work, loss of wages, lack of participation in regular activities and limited ability to care for themselves and their children.

Prevention and response

Currently, there are few interventions whose effectiveness has been proven through well designed studies. More resources are needed to strengthen the prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence, including primary prevention, i.e. stopping it from happening in the first place.

Regarding primary prevention, there is some evidence from high-income countries that school-based programmes to prevent violence within dating relationships have shown effectiveness. However, these have yet to be assessed for use in resource-poor settings. Several other primary prevention strategies: those that combine microfinance with gender equality training; that promote communication and relationship skills within couples and communities; that reduce access to, and harmful use of alcohol; and that change cultural gender norms, have shown some promise but need to be evaluated further.

To achieve lasting change, it is important to enact legislation and develop policies that:

  • address discrimination against women;

  • promote gender equality;

  • support women; and

  • help to move towards more peaceful cultural norms.

An appropriate response from the health sector can play an important role in the prevention of violence. Sensitization and education of health and other service providers is therefore another important strategy. To address fully the consequences of violence and the needs of victims/survivors requires a multi-sectoral response’.

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