A poster on Violence against Women. Photo credit: Public Health Watch.

A poster on Violence against Women. Photo credit: Public Health Watch.

One in four women in East Asia and the Pacific condone physical or sexual violence against women.

A new World Bank report has found that 30 per cent of women has experienced physical or sexual violence in the region, with the figure as high as 64 per cent in Solomon Islands.

World Bank Director of Gender and Development Jeni Klugman says in some developing countries, up to half of women support violence against themselves or their peers for “trivial reasons” such as burning dinner, returning home late or refusing marital sex.

She said these norms and attitudes are being held by women themselves, one might imagine that the rates among men might be even higher, and clearly are an important aspect of the agenda to be addressed.

According to Klugman, the problem is far-reaching and requires urgent action.

She said the levels of violence we see worldwide could be described as being at epidemic proportions adding, clearly at such a magnitude at the moment that it must be a major policy concern.

The report found that 75 countries now recognise marital rape, while no country recognised marital rape as a crime four decades ago.

Ms Klugman said they do see some changes over time, including in developed countries, and she thinks strong legislation is an important initial step, although much more needs to be done.

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