The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Woman-beaters share a bond

New Delhi, Nov. 4: Around 1.6 million people lost their lives to disparate forms of violence in the first year of the new millennium but the factors that triggered assaults on women showed remarkable similarity across the world.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report on violence and health has listed six primary areas that led to violence against women in 2000.

The flashpoint factors: disobeying or arguing with a man, questioning him about money or girlfriends, not having food ready on the table, not taking care of the children, refusing to have sex, suspicion on the part of the man about the woman’s fidelity.

The report says it is still not clear why the risk of violence increases down the socio-economic ladder. “It may be because low income provides ready material for marital disagreements or makes it difficult for a woman to leave a violent or unsatisfactory relationship.”

Of the 1.6 million deaths due to violence in 2000, suicides accounted for nearly half of the casualties, homicides one-third and armed conflict one-fifth.

“No single factor explains why one person and not another behaves in a violent manner. Violence is a complex problem rooted in the interplay of many factors — biological, social, cultural, economic and political,” the report says.

The WHO report deals not just with one form but several forms of violence, including clashes — physical as well as mental — at home, between communities and countries.

Youth violence involving people aged between 10 and 29 years includes a range of aggressive acts from bullying and physical fighting to more serious forms of assault and homicide. “In all countries, young males are both the principal perpetrators and victims of homicide,” says the report. The highest rates of youth homicide are found in Latin America and Africa and the lowest rates in Western Europe, parts of Asia and the Pacific.

For every young person killed in violence, 20 t0 40 odd youths suffer injuries requiring hospital treatment.

Data in the report suggest that in some countries, nearly one in four women report sexual violence by intimate partners and up to one-third girls report forced sexual initiation.

“Hundreds of thousands are forced into prostitution, subjected to violence in other settings, such as schools, workplaces and health care institutions,” says the report.

On abuse of the aged, the report says that between 4 and 6 per cent of elderly people experience some form of abuse at home. Ill-treatment at institutions may be more widespread than believed.

For instance, a survey in the US showed that over 30 per cent of nursing home staff in one of the states have witnessed at least one incident of physical abuse of an elderly patient. Ten per cent of the staff admitted having committed at least one act of physical abuse while 40 per cent said they have psychologically abused patients.

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