The war in Ukraine, ISIL’s beheadings in Iraq, the barbarity of Latin American drug cartels, the mass shootings in U.S. malls and churches: these stories regularly get front-page coverage. But the public stoning of a young woman in Pakistan, the murder of a wife in the United States, an African girl’s forced genital mutilation, an Indian child-bride’s internal injuries, a nine-year-old girl sold into prostitution in Thailand, and thousands of other such brutalities get a back-page story at best—and more often are ignored. Also ignored is the fact that these are far from isolated instances: they are the tip of the iceberg of a pandemic of intimate violence that claims millions of lives every year—more than all the world’s wars combined.

I coined the term intimate violence over twenty years ago to describe domestic violence, rape, child abuse, female infanticide, and other brutal practices,...

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