a community policing group and created a safe haven for women and children experiencing abuse.
Gail Wyatt and Michael Phillips both stated that cultural relativity and sensitivity require particular attention: Norms and attitudes within cultures shape issues such as gender equality and the rights of children, but they also influence response. Rachel Jewkes agreed but added that nuances in what is accepted versus what is normalized can be important. She highlighted the importance of conversation with communities to understand what is truly culturally valued.
On the workshop’s second day, speakers in the afternoon panel delved into violence and its relationship to trauma and the importance of understanding the intersection of these issues. Roger Fallot said that an important step in addressing violence is understanding trauma and bringing it into the mainstream of public health.
Many speakers expressed the sense that violence against women and children has become a mainstream issue over the past few decades. Claudia García-Moreno of the World Health Organization said that when she first began working in this field, she was informed that violence was not a health issue but a social problem. Currently, researchers, particularly in public health, have begun to recognize and document the magnitude of these types of violence, though many gaps remain.
Only recently has evidence demonstrated that violence has an accumulated effect, and in many cases it starts early and continues throughout the lifespan. Little data exist from low- and middle-income countries, but studies are under way, and preliminary findings show high rates of abuse. In particular, Claudia García-Moreno mentioned a study in Swaziland conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that 33 percent of girls had been victims of childhood sexual abuse. The WHO Multi-Country Study shows that between 1 and 21 percent of women in the 10 countries included in the study experienced abuse in childhood, most commonly perpetrated by a family member (García-Moreno et al., 2005). She also referred to a study by Jeff Edleson of children’s exposure to violence; the study found that up to 83 percent of children had overheard episodes of intimate partner violence (Edleson et al., 2003).
Dr. García-Moreno said that in the past 10 years the amount of data on magnitude and consequences has increased significantly, although much information is still missing on different types of violence against women and children (García-Moreno et al., 2005). According to the current state of knowledge, the majority of violence perpetrated against women is done