One in 3 Female Homicides = Intimate Partner Violence

June 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

One in 7 homicides worldwide, and over one in 3 homicides in women specifically are perpetrated by an intimate partner. These were the findings of a new Lancet systematic review and World Health Organization report.

Considering these facts, I have little doubt that if intimate partner violence was a disease it would garner greater (both more and better) attention in our public conscience, mass media, and health research priorities. Yet without being a disease, intimate partner violence still acts as health burden and has serious health consequence prior to and including death.1 You might not think it’s disease, but it acts like one:


Disease: any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition, as of the mind or society (; The term disease broadly refers to any condition that impairs normal function, and is therefore associated with dysfunction of normal homeostasis (wikipedia)

We need to reframe our conception of intimate partner violence. It is a societal disease. Thinking about it in this way may garner greater public retaliation when the media treats it lightly or glorifies it. Perhaps as a disease intimate partner violence will also attract  more members to organizations like  this, and more observations like this (DISCLAIMER: this video contains strong language and subject matter).

With the proportion of female homicides by an intimate partner  being six-times larger than that of males, it is reasonable that the news has largely focused on women as the victims. But we should not neglect the also shocking statistic that 1 in 7 homicides at large (i.e. of both men and women) are perpetrated by an intimate partner. This is a crime and a public health burden that clearly represents why we should not ask for whom the bell tolls.

1 Which is why the World Health Organization and the Lancet (a leading medical journal) funded and/or published the recent reports. Intimate partner violence, though we often may not think of it like this, is a health as much as a social issue.

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