USAID Guide on Gender-Based Violence for Health Sector Program Officers
Monday, June 11, 2007 2:05 PM

USAID has issued a Guide for Health Sector Program Officers entitled "Addressing Gender-Based Violence Through USAID's Health Programs." The term “gender-based” stems from the fact that women’s subordinate status in societies and families often leads to systematic abuse. According to the report, this kind of violence has dramatic implications for women’s physical and mental health as well as transmission of the HIV/AIDS virus. The USAID guide focuses on two forms of violations of women’s human rights: intimate partner violence and sexual violence. The World Report on Violence and Health shows that between 40 and 70 percent of all murdered women are victims of an intimate partner. In addition, one in four women experiences sexual violence.

The Guide states that violence against women is more prevalent in male-dominated societies, states with weak legal measures to prosecute violence, poor and crime-ridden countries. The Guide encourages USAID to invest in community mobilization programs, which collaborate with already-existing structures such as women’s groups to challenge societal norms that make violence against women acceptable. The next section of the report promotes the use of communications systems, including newspapers, radio, television and posters, to preach nonviolence. Health services delivery programs should focus on the role of violence in women’s reproductive health and the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus. Youth programs need to educate both girls and boys about the harmful effects of coercive sexual initiation. Finally, USAID must invest in humanitarian relief programs, since violence against women is exacerbated in situations of armed conflict and natural disaster.

Compile from: "Addressing Gender-Based Violence Through USAID's Health Programs: A Guide for Health Sector Program Officers," United States Agency for International Development (USAID), July 2006.