Violence against women
Violence against women, also known as gender-based violence, is a term used to collectively refer to violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women. Similar to a hate crime, this type of violence targets a specific group with the victim's gender as a primary motive.
The United Nations General Assembly defines "violence against women" as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical abuse, sexual abuse or emotional abuse harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life." The 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women noted that this violence could be perpetrated by assailants of either gender, family members and even the "State" itself. Worldwide governments and organizations actively work to combat violence against women through a variety of programs. A UN resolution designated November 25th as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
As one of the most widespread violation of human rights, measuring violence against women faces many methodological challenges. Violence against women may take many forms, take place in all sorts of locations - home, school, refugee camps - affect women from different geographical, socioeconomic or age groups, and has a variety of manifestations. A multi country study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that between 15% and 71% of women experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner. According to the United Nations, at least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime — with the abuser usually someone known to her."
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) coordinates the work of a Task force measuring gender-based violence, focusing on violence against women. The main objective of the Task Force is to continue to improve and harmonize statistics on gender-based violence.
Impact on society
WHO reports that violence against women put an undue burden on health care services with women who have suffered violence being more likely to need health services and at higher costs. Health consequences resulting directly from acts of violence or from long-term effects take various forms. Violence against women may result in serious physicial injuries, death, sexually transmitted diseases, adverse pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriage, depression and other mental health problems, and certainly low physical health. The economic cost of violence against women is considerable — a 2003 report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the costs of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceed US$5.8 billion per year: US$4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly US$1.8 billion.
Types of violence
Violence in the home
Women are more likely to be victimized by someone that they are intimate with, commonly called "Intimate Partner Violence" or (IPV). The impact of domestic violence in the sphere of total violence against women can be understood through the example that 40-70% of murders of women are committed by their husband or boyfriend. Studies have shown that violence is not always perpetrated as a form of physical violence but can also be psychological and verbal. Instances of IPV tend not to be reported to police and thus many experts believe that the true magnitude of the problem is hard to estimate.
Though this form of violence is often portrayed as an issue within the context of heterosexual relationships, it also occurs in lesbian relationships, daughter-mother relationships, roommate relationships and other domestic relationships involving two women. Very little research has been done on lesbian relationship violence, so reliable source information is hard to come by. Violence against women by women also exists outside the sphere of relationship violence, probably even less research has been done on this subject.
In abusive relationships a person receives incoherent messages such as “I love you” but “I hit you” or actions such as “I hug you but I insult you.” What happens is that confusion follows, making a person even more vulnerable and permissive. This process happens progressively and the more it is done, the easier it is to abuse a person as the “reality” they see is less visible.
This phenomenon is called Dissociation in psychology and it is used to solve cognitive dissonance of two opposite messages.
Avoidance of responsibility regarding household expenditures.
Harmful tradition practices
Traditional cultural practices reflect values and beliefs held by members of a community for periods often
spanning generations. Harmful traditional practices include:
- Forced marriage
- Child marriage
- Female genital mutilation/cutting
- Honour killings
- Dowry-related violence
- Female infanticide
Violence by the state
The systematic use of rape and other forms of sexual violence have been recognized to be weapons of war against women. Women living in conflict situations are subject to sexual violence by armed groups, secuirty forces, and even peacekeeping troops. Women face similar violence in refugee camps, where they often become victims of sexual violence of guard and male refugees.
Many women underwent extrajudicial punishment in labor camps of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Their suffering was described in memories of former Gulag women prisoners Yevgenia Ginzburg, Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya and others. [ Citation needed ]
War and militarism
Militarism produces special environments that allow for increased violence against women. For example, during World War II, the Japanese military established brothels for soldiers, exploiting women for the purpose of creating access and entitlement for men. [ Citation needed ]
Violence in empowerment systems
Women's shelter workers are often reduced themselves to contributing to violence against women by exploiting their vulnerability in exchange for a paying job.
- 2 million girls are at risk of mutilation each year. Read more on page 13 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- The United Nations Population Fund estimates that in 2000 the annual number of ‘honour killing’ victims may be as high as 5.000.Read more on page 13 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- An estimated 130 million of women and girls alive today have undergone Female Genital Mutilation. Read more on page 13 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- The most common form of violence experienced by women globally is physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner.On average, at least one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner in the course of her lifetime. Read more on page 17 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, motor accidents, war and malaria, according to World Bank data. Read more on page 17 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Several global surveys suggest that half of all women who die from homicide are killed by their current or former husbands or partners. In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, 40%-70% of female murder victims were killed by their partners, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)". Read more in the Violence against women article. Read more on page 17 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- In Colombia, one woman is reportedly killed by her partner or former partner every six days. Read more on page 17 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Amnesty International reports that in South Africa, about one woman is killed by her husband or boyfriend every six hours. Read more on page 17 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Many women are subjected to sexual violence by an intimate partner. A World Health Organization study in 11 countries found that the percentage of women who had been subjected to sexual violence by an intimate partner ranged between 6 per cent in Japan and Serbia and Montenegro and 59 per cent in Ethiopia. Read more on page 21 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Violence against women while in police custody or in prisons includes sexual violence; inappropriate surveillance; strip searches conducted by or in the presence of men; and demands for sexual acts in exchange for privileges, goods or basic necessities. Read more on page 21 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Depression is one of the most common consequences of sexual and physical violence against women. Women subjected to violence are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs and to report sexual dysfunction, suicide attempts, posttraumatic stress and central nervous system disorders. Read more on page 21 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Several global surveys suggest that half of all women who die from homicide are killed by their current or former husbands or partners. Read more on page 27 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Female infanticide, prenatal sex selection and systematic neglect of girls are widespread in South and East Asia, North. Read more on page 27 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Between 500,000 to 2 million people, the majority of them women and children, are trafficked annually into situations including prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude, according to estimates. Read more on page 31 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Trafficking in African women and children for forced prostitution or labour is exacerbated by war,poverty, and nonexistent birth registration systems. Read more on page 31 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- According to a 2006 UN global report on trafficking, 127 countries have been documented as countries of origin, and 137 as countries of destination. The main countries of origin are reported to be in Central and South-Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Asia, followed by West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The most commonly reported countries of destination are in Western Europe, Asia and Northern America. Read more on page 31 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Women experience sexual harassment throughout their lives. Between 40% and 50% of women in the European Union reported some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. In Malawi, 50% of schoolgirls surveyed reported sexual harassment at school. Read more on page 37 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Violence against women during or after armed conflicts has been reported in every international or non-international war-zone. Between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda; between 20,000 and 50,000 women were raped during the conflict in Bosnia in the early 1990s. Read more on page 41 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- In South Kivu in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo alone there were 27,000 reported rapes in 2006. Read more on page 41 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- In Liberia levels of sexual violence in camps for internally displaced persons were so high that almost 80 percent of women and girls had been subject to attack.. Read more on page 41 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- The brutality of these rapes is so severe, the intention to inflict permanent harm is so manifest, that the ‘destruction of the vagina’ is being treated as an officially recorded war injury in Congo. Read more on page 41 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Displaced women and girls living in refugee camps have reported rapes, beatings and abductions that occur when they leave the camps for necessities such as firewood and water. Read more on page 41 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Women who are beaten by their partners are 48% more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS. Read more on page 45 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- A study conducted in Tanzania in 2001 found that HIV-positive women were over 2.5 times more likely to have experienced violence at the hands of their current partner than other women. Read more on page 45 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Boys face a greater risk of physical violence than girls; girls face a greater risk of sexual violence, neglect and forced prostitution. Read more on page 45 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- A clinic in Zambia reported that 60 percent of eligible women opt out of treatment due to fears of violence and abandonment resulting from disclosing their HIV-positive status. Such women have been driven from their homes, left destitute, ostracized by their families and community. Read more on page 45 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- A 2002 UNIFEM-sponsored report on the impact of armed conflict on womenunderscores how the chaotic and brutal circumstances of armed conflict aggravate all the factors that fuel the AIDS crisis. Tragically and most cruelly, in many conflicts, the planned and purposeful infection of women with HIV has been a tool of war, often pitting one ethnic group against another, as occurred during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Read more on page 45 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- World Health Organization estimates that the prevalence of forced sexual intercourse and other forms of violence involving touch, among boys and girls under 18, is 73 million (7 per cent) and 150 million (14 per cent) respectively. Read more on page 51 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- In 16 developing countries reviewed by a Global School-Based Health Survey from WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of school-aged children that reported having been verbally or physically bullied at school in the previous 30 days ranged from 20 per cent in some countries to as high as 65 per cent in others. Read more on page 51 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Each year, as many as 275 million children worldwide are estimated to witness domestic violence. This exposure has both short and long-term negative impacts on children’s development. Read more on page 51 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- ILO’s latest available estimates show that in 2000 5.7 million children were in forced or bonded labour, 1.8 million in prostitution and pornography, and an estimated 1.2 million children were victims of trafficking. Many more children of legal working age face violence in their workplaces from employers or coworkers. Read more on page 51 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Between 100 million and 140 million women and girls worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting, according to World Health Organization. Read more on page 51 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- In a major multi-country study, up to 21 per cent of women in some countries reported having been sexually abused before the age of 15. Read more on page 51 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Children in low- and middle-income countries are more than twice as likely to die as a result of homicide than children in high-income countries, according to WHO. Boys aged 15-17 years and children aged 0-4 years are at greatest risk. Read more on page 51 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Certain groups of children are particularly vulnerable, including children with disabilities, children belonging to minority groups, living on the streets, in conflict with the law, and those who are refugees or displaced from their homes. Read more on page 51 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- The costs of violence against women are extremely high. They include the direct costs of services to treat and support abused women and their children and to bring perpetrators to justice.The indirect costs include lost employment and productivity, and the costs in human pain and suffering. Read more on page 65 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Domestic violence and rape account for 5 per cent of the total disease burden for women aged 15 to 44 in developing countries and 19 per cent in developed countries. Read more on page 65 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Violence leads to high-risk pregnancies and pregnancy related problems, including miscarriage, preterm labour and low birth weigh. Read more on page 65 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Women who have experienced violence are at higher risk of contracting HIV, with the consequent costs to the family and the state in terms of care and treatment. Fear of violence also prevents women from accessing HIV/AIDS information and receiving treatment and counselling. Read more on page 65 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Depression is one of the most common consequences of sexual and physical violence against women. Read more on page 65 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Women subjected to violence are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs and to report sexual dysfunction, suicide attempts, post-traumatic stress and central nervous system disorders. Read more on page 51 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- Violence against women may prevent women from fully participating economically, socially and politically. Girls who are targeted for violence are less likely to complete their education. Read more on page 65 of the Reporting gender-based violence
- The cost of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceeds US$5.8 billion per year : US$4.1 billion is for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly US$1.8 billion. A 2004 study in the United Kingdom estimated the total direct and indirect costs of domestic viollence, including pain and suffering, to be £23 billion per year or £440 per person. Read more on page 65 of the Reporting gender-based violence
Many activists believe that working towards the elimination of domestic violence means working to eliminate a societal hierarchy enforced through sexism. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence cited racism within the anti-violence movement and suggest that violence against women will not end until the anti-violence movement re-directs its goal from "ending violence against women" to "ending violence against women of color. The same conclusion can be drawn for other systems of oppression.
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- ↑ United Nations. General Assembly. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. 20 December 1993. A/RES/48/104
- ↑ UN Resolution 54/134-International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
- ↑ World Health Organization. Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women. 2005
- ↑ General Assembly. In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence against Women: Report of the Secretary General, 2006. A/61/122/Add.1. 6 July 2006.
- ↑ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003, Costs of Intimate Partner Violence against Women in the United States, Atlanta.
- ↑ Violence &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Victimization Research Division's Compendium Of Research On Violence Against Women 1993-2005.
- ↑ Girshick, Lori B., "No Sugar, No Spice: Reflections on Research on Woman-to-Woman Sexual Violence." Violence Against Women Vol. 8 No. 12, December 2002, pgs. 1500-1520.
- ↑ Koyama, Emi "Disloyal to feminism: Abuse of survivors within the domestic violence shelter system." in Smith A, Richie BE, Sudbury J, eds. The Color of Violence: INCITE! Anthology. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, 2006.
- ↑ INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology. pg 4. South End Press, 2006.
- Honour Killings
- Female genital mutilation
- Domestic Violence
- Missing women
- Child marriage
- Domestic Violence and Child Mortality
- Marital Rape
- Girl Child Soldiers
- Domestic Violence: Myths or Reality?
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
- "Female Genocide" in India
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- Reporting gender-based violence