Gender Violence Worldwide

last updated 25 September 2007

Violence against women is a worldwide problem that affects women of all ages, ethnicities, races, nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds. Some forms of violence are gender-based and impact women more disproportionately, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and human trafficking, and this website describes each of these forms of violence against women in detail. Around the world, various social, economic, political and religious forces impact women’s human rights in different ways. Women may experience human rights violations that do not fall within the commonly understood definitions of these four types of violence. These violations may include, inter alia, forced and early marriages, female genital mutilation, honor killings, dowry-related violence, rape as a weapon of war, female infanticide, and enforced sterilization. Some forms of violence may be in response to governmental policies or laws, such as the one-child only policy in China, which has led to an increase in female infanticide. Social traditions and religious beliefs play a role in female genital mutilation and honor killings. The effects of forced and early marriages include reproductive health costs, a greater risk of domestic violence, and limited educational and employment opportunities. In cultures that perceive women’s purity as embodying a community’s honor, rape has been increasingly used as a warfare tactic in conflict areas.

To address these and other issues, The Advocates for Human Rights has created a Gender Violence Worldwide section. The purpose of this section is to recognize that these abuses are violations of women’s human rights and to provide information on these forms of VAW.