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Thread: World Violence Claims 1.6 Million Lives a Year/WHO Report: Suicide Every 40 Seconds

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    World Violence Claims 1.6 Million Lives a Year/WHO Report: Suicide Every 40 Seconds

    World Violence Claims 1.6 Million Lives a Year
    Thu Oct 3,11:51 PM ET
    By Adam Marcus
    HealthScoutNews Reporter

    THURSDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthScoutNews) -- More than 1.6 million people a year, or 4,400 each day, suffer violent and therefore preventable deaths throughout the world, according to a new report by the World Health Organization ( news - web sites).

    A third of the deaths are murders, a fifth the result of war and national strife. But half the killings are suicides, with roughly one every 40 seconds. Millions more people bear physical or emotional scars of abuse that's not fatal. The vast majority of violent acts are committed in secret and go unreported.

    "While images of terrorism, war and civil unrest pervade our world view, we know little of the millions of children, adolescents, women and men who suffer in silence from abuse and neglect," said Dr. Gro Harlem Brudtland, the WHO's Director-General, in a speech today about the document.

    "They suffer in the places that should offer them the greatest sense of security and belonging: their homes, schools, workplaces and the streets of their communities. Behind closed doors, even the safest of communities and countries are touched by violence in one way or another," she said.

    Nelson Mandela, the once-imprisoned former leader of South Africa, wrote in a foreword to the report that "safety and security don't just happen: they are the result of collective consensus and public investment."

    The report looked at violence in general, as well as its impact on specific groups, like the young, the elderly and women.

    In 2000, for example, violence claimed the lives of almost 200,000 youths. For each of those violent deaths, 20 to 40 youths are injured by fighting, bullying and other forms of aggression. Many times, drunkenness is in part to blame for violence and its consequences.

    Violence claims 14 percent of males between the ages of 15 and 44, and 7 percent of females in that age group.

    As other reports on violence have found, women are particularly vulnerable to abuse in their own homes. Almost one in two murdered women are killed by their husband or a current or past boyfriend, and in some countries this rate is much higher.

    Sexual abuse is also alarmingly common, according to the report, which claims that one in four women worldwide will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, and a third of girls will endure forced initiation to sex. Most women who are abused are abused more than once.

    Roughly 6 percent of the world's elderly are victims of violent abuse. People 75 and older also have three times the rate of suicide as those ages 15 to 24, the report said. Men kill themselves at three times the rate of women.

    Eastern Europe has the highest rate of suicide, while Latin American and some Asian nations have the lowest incidence.

    The reports singles out the 20th century as a particularly bloody era. During that time, 191 million people died in war or conflict, including two world wars and the purges in the Soviet Union and China. More than half of them were civilians.

    The economic toll of violence on nations is buckling, with some countries spending up to 5 percent of their gross domestic product on health consequences alone.

    The report calls for countries to funnel resources toward preventing violence in all groups of people, but especially the world's poor. Enforcing human rights treaties, cracking down on the international drug and arms trades and strengthening violence prevention programs would help, it said.

    The United States is among the world's worst offenders when it comes to violent citizenry, said Jane Grady, an assistant director of the University of Colorado's Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. Much of that problem is due to the ready availability of handguns, she added.

    Grady said the 21st century appears to be a little more benign than the last hundred years, thanks in part to stricter gun laws. "The lethality does seem to be dropping," she said. But violent youth gangs remain popular and adolescents are still prone to aggression. "It hasn't gone away," she said.

    "This is a huge issue with huge numbers," said Dr. Patricia Salber, co-founder of Physicians for a Violence-Free Society, a San Francisco non-profit group. "Given the magnitude of the problem WHO has documented for us, we need to have a response of similar magnitude," Salber added. "Violence prevention programs need to be put into place that have the same kind of credibility as malaria prevention programs."

    What To Do

    For more on the report, visit the World Health Organization. For more on violence prevention, try the University of Colorado's Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.

    "It was once written "To thine own self be true". But how do we know who we really are? Every man must confront the monster within himself, if he is ever to find peace without. .." Outer Limits(Monster)

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    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    WHO Report: Suicide Every 40 Seconds

    WHO Report: Suicide Every 40 Seconds
    Thu Oct 3, 5:31 AM ET
    By CLARE NULLIS, Associated Press Writer

    GENEVA (AP) - One person commits suicide about every 40 seconds, one person is murdered every 60 seconds and one person dies in armed conflict every 100 seconds, the World Health Organization ( news - web sites) said Thursday.

    Overall, WHO estimated that 1.6 million people met premature and violent deaths in 2000.

    The U.N. health agency, in what it described as the most exhaustive international study into the problem, examined the extent of violence in homes and on streets; the abuse of children and the elderly; suicide; and war.

    "The figures for violent death tell only part of the story," report author Etienne Krug said. "Physical, sexual and psychological abuse occur in every country on a daily basis, undermining the health and well-being of many millions of people."

    Krug's team spent three years writing the report, using research from 160 experts in 170 countries.

    WHO now hopes to help governments mount national prevention campaigns focusing on young people.

    The report estimated that 815,000 people killed themselves in 2000 - making suicide the No. 13 cause of death worldwide. People older than 60 were most likely to take their own life.

    On average, men were three times more likely to kill themselves than women, although in China the rate was about the same for both sexes. About 10 percent of people who attempt suicide eventually kill themselves, it said.

    The highest suicide rates were in eastern Europe, while the lowest were in Latin America. But this masked big differences between rural and urban populations and different racial and ethnic groups within countries.

    Among the Inuit people in northern Canada, for example, there were overall suicide rates of between 60 and 75 per 100,000 people, compared with 15 per 100,000 for the general population, it said.

    WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland said she hoped the report would break taboos surrounding violence in the home and suicides.

    "To many people, staying out of harm's way is a matter of locking doors and windows. To others, escape is not possible. The threat of violence is behind those doors," Brundtland said.

    "And for those living the midst of war and conflict, violence permeates every aspect of life," she said of the 310,000 people who died in wars.

    The report said an estimated 520,000 people were murdered in 2000 - excluding unlawful deaths disguised as accidents or natural causes. For every person who died, 20-40 others were hospitalized with injuries.

    The death toll included 199,000 people aged 10-29 who were killed by other young people - often because of alcohol and drug abuse or easy access to firearms.

    Youth homicides soared in the United States, many Latin American countries and the former Soviet bloc but stabilized or decreased in much of Western Europe and Canada, the report said.

    In the United States, black youths are 12 times more likely to be murdered than whites.

    Krug said WHO had no plans to lobby countries for stricter gun control laws during its violence prevention campaigns.

    "It's not our role," he said.

    An estimated 57,000 young children died from abuse - often head injuries or suffocation, with preschoolers most at risk, the report said.

    Millions more children were the victim of beatings. In South Korea ( news - web sites), for example, a recent survey said 67 percent of parents admitted whipping their children to discipline them, and 45 percent reported hitting, kicking or beating them, the report said.

    In 48 surveys from around the world, up to 69 percent of women reported being physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate male partner at some point in their lives and as many as 20 percent of women were sexually abused as children, it said.

    For example, a recent South Africa survey said school teachers were responsible for 32 percent of disclosed child rapes.

    WHO also said the abuse of elderly people by relatives and other caregivers was "increasingly being recognized as a serious social problem."

    "It is also a problem that may continue to grow as many countries experience rapidly aging populations," the report said.

    In some developing countries where women have inferior social status, elderly women were at even greater risk for abuse than men. For example, they were abandoned or had their property seized after being widowed.

    In Tanzania, an estimated 500 elderly women accused of witchcraft - often connected with an event like crop failure _were murdered every year, it said.


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    "It was once written "To thine own self be true". But how do we know who we really are? Every man must confront the monster within himself, if he is ever to find peace without. .." Outer Limits(Monster)

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