Domestic Violence on the World Stage: Using International Standards as a Framework for Change in the United States

Domestic violence crosses all geographic landscapes and socioeconomic classes. In 1989, the United Nations released a report establishing that domestic violence is a problem in almost every country. For example, roughly ten to fifty percent of women in fifty countries reported “being hit or physically harmed by an intimate partner at some point in their lives,” and “up to seventy percent of women experience violence in their lifetime.” Violence against women, particularly by intimate partners, is now considered a “universal phenomenon.” This violence is not just minor; intimate partners commit half of all homicides against women, and the World Health Organization has estimated that “forty percent to seventy percent of female murder victims in Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa, and the United States were killed by their partners.” Globally, domestic violence is also the primary cause of disease and health issues for women.