Despite making domestic violence awareness a priority the past few years, most incidents are never reported. Credit: Colourbox
A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that only 7 percent of gender-based violent crimes, such as domestic abuse and sexual assault, are being reported. In all, 24 countries were analyzed and researchers found that in 20 of the 24 countries, women didn't report domestic abuse or sexual assault at all.
Advocacy regarding women's issues has increased dramatically the past decade, but with report numbers still drastically low, the study is prompting advocates to come up with new ways to talk to women around the world about domestic violence. "It challenges the current strategy that has been used globally in terms of focusing on trying to reform institutional responses to domestic violence," Lori Heise, a senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine tells The Daily Beast.
A 2005 study conducted by the World Health Organization found that when women do report domestic violence, they usually tell a family member or close friend first. Especially in low-income areas, women are unlikely to tell a professional, such as a doctor or police officer, unless they truly feel their life is at risk.
Both studies show that women still do not feel comfortable coming forward about domestic abuse and new ways for them to talk about these sensitive issues need to be developed and brought to light.