'This cross-sectional study was part of the ÔWHO 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 S‹o Paulo and 15 municipalities in a rural region of the northeast, the Zona da Mata de Pernambuco. The study included 940 women from S‹o 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.' Study results support the large body of international literature with regard to the high magnitude of the phenomenon of intimate partner violence against women.