November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Violence against women takes many forms – physical, sexual, psychological and economic. These forms of violence are interrelated and affect women from before birth to old age. Some types of violence, such as trafficking, cross national boundaries.
Women who experience violence suffer a range of health problems and their ability to participate in public life is diminished. Violence against women harms families and communities across generations and reinforces other violence prevalent in society.
Violence against women also impoverishes women, their families, communities and nations.
Violence against women is not confined to a specific culture, region or country, or to particular groups of women within a society. The roots of violence against women lie in persistent discrimination against women.
Up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime.
Forms of violence against women include:
- Violence by an intimate partner, including physical and psychological/emotional
- Sexual violence, including rape and the practice of early marriage
- Sexual violence in conflict, often conscious strategy employed on a large scale by armed groups to humiliate opponents, terrify individuals and destroy societies
- Violence against women in police custody
- Women’s inability to negotiate safe sex and refuse unwanted sex, which is closely linked to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS
- Female Genital Mutilation/Genital Cutting
- Dowry murder, where a woman is killed by her husband or in-laws because her family cannot meet their demands for dowry
- “Honour killing”, where rape victims, women suspected of engaging in premarital sex, and women accused of adultery are murdered by their relatives
- Trafficking in persons, including prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude
- Violence during pregnancy
- Female infanticide, prenatal sex selection and systematic neglect of girls
Source: UN Department of Public Information