Violence Against Women: A Global Health Problem

By Kacy Mixon, M.S., LMFT

A recent study by the World Health Organization announced that 1 in 3 women are affected by physical or sexual violence across the globe. Although the report revealed that 35% of all women experience some type of intimate partner or non-partner violence, intimate partner violence against women is the most common type affecting 30% worldwide.

“…violence against women is a global public health problem of epidemic proportion.”

As a result, the World Health Organization has created new clinical and policy guidelines to assist with informed responses from those working in the health fields.

What does this mean to Military Family Professionals?

Globe of the world
[Flickr, globe by final gather, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 17, 2015
Prevalence: Knowing how the global problem of violence against women affects military populations can shine a light onto the needs of those military professionals work with.

Treatment Considerations:

“…women often seek health-care, without necessarily disclosing the cause of their injuries or ill-health.”

It is helpful to remember that those experiencing violence may choose not to reveal this to military service professionals, or choose to minimize the severity of their circumstances for fear of stigma or safety concerns. Consequently, they may seek out services for issues related to abuse such as: depression, alcohol use problems, loss/trauma and anxiety. The chart below shows impacts that are common when women experience violence and can increase awareness about this toxic problem.
Chart on "How does Intimate Partner Violence Effect Health?"
World Health Organization (2013). Violence against women: Global picture health response. Retrieved from



Klostermann, K., Mignone, T., Kelley, M., Musson, S., & Bohall, G. (2012). Intimate partner violence in the military: Treatment considerations.  Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17(1), 53-58.

McCarroll, J. E., Ursano, R. J., Fan, Z., & Newby, J. H. (2004). Patterns of mutual and non-mutual spouse abuse in the U.S. army (1998-2002). Violence and Victims, 19(4), 453-68.


This post was written by Kacy Mixon, M.S., LMFT, Social Media Specialist.  She is a member of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, You Tube, and on LinkedIn.

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