Violence against women and girls, explained!
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women will mark the launch of the UNiTE campaign (Nov 25- Dec 10) — an initiative of 16 days of activism concluding on the day that commemorates the International Human Rights Day (10 December).
This campaign, led by the UN Secretary-General and UN Women since 2008, aims to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls around the world, calling for global action to increase awareness, promote advocacy and create opportunities for discussion on challenges and solutions.
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the colour orange is used to represent a brighter future, free from violence against women and girls. (Photo: UN Women)
Why we must eliminate violence against women
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.
In general terms, it manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, encompassing:
intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide);
sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment);
human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation);
female genital mutilation; and
To further clarify, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “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.”
The adverse psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences of VAWG affect women at all stages of their life. For example, early-set educational disadvantages not only represent the primary obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls; down the line they are also to blame for restricting access to higher education and even translate into limited opportunities for women in the labour market.
What is domestic abuse?
We define domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common. In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.
Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:
Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
Psychological and/or emotional abuse .
Physical or sexual abuse.