On this 1st day of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, let’s explore what we mean when we say ‘Violence Against Women‘ or ‘Gender-Based Violence.’
Violence against women is a technical term used to collectively refer to violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women.
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, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
According to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the term gender-based violence (GBV) is “used to distinguish violence that targets individuals or groups of individuals on the basis of their gender from other forms of violence.” Since more women than men are victims of violence based on their gender, ‘gender-based violence’ is commonly thought to mean ‘violence against women.’
- Around the world at least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime
- Gender-based violence kills and disables as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as cancer
- Violence’s toll on women’s health surpasses that of traffic accidents and malaria combined
- Violence against women is rooted in a global culture of discrimination which denies women equal rights with men and which legitimizes the appropriation of women’s bodies for individual gratification or political ends
- Violence against women is compounded by discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, sexual identity, social status, class, and age. Such multiple forms of discrimination further restrict women’s choices, increase their vulnerability to violence and make it even harder for women to obtain justice.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status” (Article 2).
- The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women states that “violence against women means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” (Article 1). It further asserts that states have an obligation to “exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with national legislation, punish acts of violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by private persons” (Article 4-c).
- The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) defines discrimination against women as any “distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on the basis of equality between men and women, of human rights or fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field” (Article 1).
Tomorrow, we will look at what shape this types of violence can take. We look forward to all your comments.
- Anita Borg Institute for Women & Technology
- Association for Progressive Communications – APC
- Blog Her
- Development Blog
- Digital Divide Network – DDN
- Gender Development and Me
- Global Voices Online
- GST Gateway
- International Development Research Centre – IDRC
- Paradigm Initiative Nigeria
- Research Africa ICT.Net
- Suggest Ideas
- Support Forum
- Take Back the Tech
- Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC)
- Women, Knowledge & Technology – WIGSAT
- WordPress Planet
- Youth for Technology Foundation