An age-old human rights violation that knows no geographical or cultural bounds, violence affects one in three women. A growing public health concern, violence not only devastates lives and communities, but also poses a serious impediment to the economic development of nations. Violence against women cannot be stereotyped. Every day, thousands of women across the world are subject to rape, beatings, torture, physical intimidation and murder by male intimate partners, family members, acquaintances, colleagues, soldiers, men in civil authority, and strangers.
A 2002 study by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe revealed that violence is a major cause of death and disability for women aged 15 to 44 years. A 1993 World Bank study found that women between these ages are more at risk of experiencing rape and domestic violence than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war and malaria (World Bank, 1993). Moreover, as the trafficking of women into prostitution grows in scale across the world, the threat of women contracting HIV/AIDS has also increased.