SKOPJE, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Violence against women is widespread and often underreported in North Macedonia, says a survey conducted by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on the wellbeing and safety of women and presented here on Wednesday.
The host of the presentation, Zoran Zaev, prime minister of North Macedonia, said that violence against women is unacceptable.
"Only 2 percent of the women surveyed who have experienced violence from their current partners reported to the police this most serious incident," said Zaev, calling the fact very worrying and stressing that the problem must be addressed urgently.
Zaev underlined that the government of North Macedonia is committed to the systematic promotion of gender equality and the elimination of all forms of violence against women.
In his remarks, the head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje, Clemens Koja, said that gender-based violence remains one of the most widespread and persistent human rights violations globally that affects the lives of women and girls across countries and regions.
"For us at the OSCE, this structural violence is not only a violation of the human rights of women and girls but also a security issue," Koja said.
Amarsanaa Darisuren, the OSCE's senior adviser on gender issues, said that no matter the geographic location, level of prosperity or size of the population, violence against women is pervasive in all countries of the world.
"This survey provides the information needed to take action. It is now time to take concrete steps to prevent violence against women and girls," Darisuren said.
According to the survey, 3 out of 5 (60 percent) women in North Macedonia think that violence against women is common, and nearly 3 in 10 think that it is very common.
Almost 1 in 5 women (17 percent) personally knows someone who has experienced some form of domestic violence.
"14 percent of women say they have experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 15 at the hands of a partner or non-partner," the survey showed.
Moreover, according to the survey, psychological violence committed by an intimate partner is significantly more common, with 44 percent of women indicating that they have experienced this.
The survey identified a particular need for more support and targeted action to help women from minority groups and rural areas.
OSCE conducted the survey in the spring and summer of 2018 among a representative sample of 1,910 women aged between 18 and 74.