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WHO: A third of women worldwide suffer domestic violence

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Violence against womenAbout a third of women worldwide have been physically or sexually assaulted by a former or current partner, according to the first major review of violence against women.

In a series of papers released on Thursday by the World Health Organization and others, experts estimated nearly 40 percent of women killed worldwide were slain by an intimate partner and that being assaulted by a partner was the most common kind of violence experienced by women.

"Violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions," WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said in a statement.

WHO defined physical violence as being slapped, pushed, punched, choked or being attacked with a weapon. Sexual violence was defined as being physically forced to have sex, having sex because you were afraid of what your partner might do and being compelled to do something sexual that was humiliating or degrading.

The report also examined rates of sexual violence against women by someone other than a partner and found about 7 percent of women worldwide had previously been a victim.

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