Violence against women is not a new phenomenon, nor are its consequences to women's physical, mental
and reproductive health. What is new is the growing recognition that acts of violence against women are
not isolated events but rather form a pattern of behaviour that violates the rights of women and girls, limits
their participation in society, and damages their health and well-being. When studied systematically, as was
done with this report, it becomes clear that violence against women is a global public health problem that
affects approximately one third of women globally.
By compiling and analysing all available data from studies designed to capture women's experiences of
different forms of violence, this report provides the first such summary of the violent life events that many
women experience. It documents not only how widespread this problem is, but also how deeply women's
health is affected when they experience violence.
This report marks a big advance for women's health and rights. It adds to the momentum of the 57th
session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which emphasized the need to address the root causes
of violence against women and to strengthen multisectoral responses for women who have experienced
violence. It also contributes to advocacy efforts such as the United Nations Secretary General's campaign
UNiTE to end violence against women.