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Violence against women: the physician’s role

European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. 1998 Oct;80(2):239-245

Violence against women: the physician’s role

Schmuel E, Schenker JG

ABSTRACT

Violence against women is one reflection of the unequal power relationship between men and women in societies. Reflections of this inequality include marriage at a very young age, lack of information or choice about fertility control and forced pregnancy within marriage. The different forms of violence against women are: domestic violence and rape, genitalmutilation or, gender-based violence by police and security forces, gender-based violence against women during armed conflict, gender-based violence against women refugees and asylum-seekers, violence associated with prostitution and pornography, violence in the workplace, including sexual harassment. Violence against women is condemned, whether it occurs in a societal setting or a domestic setting. It is not a private or family matter. The FIGO Committee for the Study of Ethical Aspects of Human Reproduction released statements to physicians treating women on this issue. Physicians are ethically obliged to inform themselves about the manifestations of violence and recognize cases, to treat the physical and psychological results of violence, to affirm to their patients that violent acts toward them are not acceptable and to advocate for social infrastructures to provide women the choice of seeking secure refuge and ongoing counselling.

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