GENDER BASED VIOLENCE
“Gender-based violence (GBV) is the general term used to capture violence that occurs as a result of the normative role expectations associated with each gender, along with the unequal power relationships between the two genders, within the context of a specific society.” (Bloom 2008, p14).
While women, girls, men and boys can be victims of GBV, the main focus of this resource package is on violence against women and girls.
This is not to say that gender-based violence against men does not exist. For instance, men can become targets of physical or verbal attacks for transgressing predominant concepts of masculinity, for example because they have sex with men. Men can also become victims of violence in the family – by partners or children. (Bloom 2008, p14)
However, it has been widely acknowledged that the majority of persons affected by gender-based violence are women and girls, as a result of unequal distribution of power in society between women and men. Further, women and girls victims of violence suffer specific consequences as a result of gender discrimination. As summed up by UNFPA:
“The primary targets of GBV are women and adolescent girls, but not only are they at high risk of GBV, they also suffer exacerbated consequences as compared with what men endure. As a result of gender discrimination and their lower socio-economic status, women have fewer options and less resources at their disposal to avoid or escape abusive situations and to seek justice. They also suffer (…) consequences [on their sexual and reproductive health], including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and resulting deaths, traumatic fistula, and higher risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV.”
Efforts to fight violence against women can take many forms and access to justice, or lack thereof, for such violence varies greatly depending on the justice system. International and regional instruments are increasingly used as the basis for national legislation and policies to eradicate violence against women.
The Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Eradicate and Punish Violence Against Women – also known as the Belém do Parà Convention, for instance, has been applied by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in its first case of domestic violence to condemn Brazil in the Maria da Penha case. This led the Brazilian government to enact in 2006 the Maria da Penha Law, the country’s first law against domestic violence against women. There is also, for instance, the South Asian Agreement on Regional Cooperation’s (SAARC) Protocol to End Trafficking in Women and Children.
TO BE CONTINUED