Protection risks to women and girls have always been present in the country. The latest National Health Survey (ENDESA) 2011/12, revealed that 39 percent of women, between 15 and 49 years old, who are or ever were married or in a union, had suffered at least once in their lifetime either verbal / psychosocial, or physical, or sexual violence. Furtheremore, 37 percent of women reported having received verbal and/or psychological abuse; 20 percent of women reported having experienced physical violence and 10 percent sexual violence.
All types of violence are more prevalent in urban areas than in rural areas, according to the ENDESA Health Survey. 43 percent of women in urban areas and 28 percent in rural areas reported having experienced verbal / psychosocial violence. Similarly, 12 percent of women in urban areas and 7 percent of women in rural areas, reported having suffered sexual violence, while 24 percent and 15 percent in urban and rural areas respectively, experienced physical violence.
Early and forced marriage and unions are another manifestation of gender violence. According to ENDESA, 35.2 percent of women reported having joined their partners before the age of 18, 25.5 percent between 15 and 17 years old, while 9.7 percent before the age of 15. While the prevalence of child marriage has decreased over the years according to 2001 and 2006 ENDESA Health Surveys, data from the most current survey indicates that 1 in 4 women, age between 20 and 24, joined their partners between 15 and 17 years old.
It is important to underline that unions are inversely proportional to the level of schooling of the girl or adolescent. Among all surveyed women with three years of primary education completed, 38.9 percent reported having experienced either verbal/ psychosocial, physical, or suxual violence. Likewise, 38.7 percent of women without education reported having experienced some sort of violence too. Despite the progress that the country has made regarding the exercise of the rights, the persistence of traditional conceptions of the family continues to be a challenge.