An increasing amount of research is beginning to offer a global overview of the extent of violence against women. In this paper we discuss the magnitude of some of the most common and most severe forms of violence against women: intimate partner violence; sexual abuse by non-intimate partners; trafficking, forced prostitution, exploitation of labour, and debt bondage of women and girls; physical and sexual violence against prostitutes; sex selective abortion, female infanticide, and the deliberate neglect of girls; and rape in war. There are many potential perpetrators, including spouses and partners, parents, other family members, neighbours, and men in positions of power or influence. Most forms of violence are not unique incidents but are ongoing, and can even continue for decades. Because of the sensitivity of the subject, violence is almost universally under-reported. Nevertheless, the prevalence of such violence suggests that globally, millions of women are experiencing violence or living with its consequences.