Objective: To analyze the results from the "WHO Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence", on the prevalence of intimate partner violence against women found in Brazil.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was part of the "WHO Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against women", which was carried out in ten countries between 2000 and 2003. All the countries used a standardized structured questionnaire, devised for this study. In order to obtain data from contrasting settings within each country, the biggest city and a rural region were investigated whenever feasible. A representative sample of women aged 15 to 49 years was selected from the city of São Paulo and 15 municipalities in a rural region of the northeast, the Zona da Mata de Pernambuco. The study included 940 women from São Paulo and 1,188 from Zona da Mata de Pernambuco who had had an intimate partner at some time in their lives. Violence was classified as psychological, physical and sexual types, and was analyzed in relation to overlapping, recurrence of episodes, severity and when it occurred.
Results: The women in São Paulo and Pernambuco respectively reported the following at least once in their lifetimes: psychological (N=383; 41.8% and N=580; 48.9%); physical (N=266; 27.2% and N=401; 33.7%); sexual (N=95; 10.1% and N=170; 14.3%) violence. There was significant overlapping among the types of violence, which seemed to be associated with the most severe types of violence. The greatest single type was psychological violence, in São Paulo and Pernambuco (N=164; 17.5% and N=206; 17.3%), and the smallest was sexual violence (N=2; 0.2% and N=12; 1.0%).
Conclusions: The results show that violence is a very common phenomenon. The findings reiterate previous international studies results with regard to high magnitude and overlapping of types of intimate partner violence.