Gender violence includes rape, sexual assault, intimate partner violence in heterosexual and same sex partnerships, sexual harassment, stalking, prostitution and sex trafficking. The term “gender violence” reflects the idea that violence often serves to maintain structural gender inequalities, and includes all types of violence against men, women, children, adolescents, gay, transgender people and gender non conforming. This type of violence in some way influences or is influenced by gender relations. To adequately address this violence, we have to address cultural issues that encourage violence as part of masculinity.
Gender is also the most powerful predictor of rape, sexual assault and relationship violence. These crimes are predominantly against men, women and children are perpetrated by men. 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted) About 3% of American men– or 1 in 33– have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. While men are rape victims, men are almost always the perpetrator. That is not to say that all or even most men are violent, or that women cannot perpetrate such violence. Gender violence highlights a toxic masculinity patterned violence: a prevalent violence motivated by aggression, revenge, competition, and entitlement, and includes sexual and other violence against men, women, partners and children.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a violation of human rights. We’re working to transform attitudes towards girls and women that perpetuate violence against them.
Types of Gender Based Violence are
1. Physical Violence
2. Verbal Violence
3. Psychological Violence
4. Sexual Violence
5. Socio-economic Violence
6. Domestic Violence or in intimate Relationships
7. Harassment and sexual Harassment
Gender-based violence can take the form of:
- Child marriage
- Female genital mutilation
- Honour killings
- Trafficking for sex or slavery
- Intimate partner violence
- Physical punishment
- Sexual, emotional or psychological violence
WHERE DOES GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE HAPPEN?
Girls and young women often experience violence at home, from physical punishment to sexual, emotional or psychological violence. Acceptance of violence as a ‘private affair’ often prevents others from intervening and prohibits girls and young women from reporting.
School and the journey to it can also be a place where girls experience violence, from sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation. This violation of girls’ rights, especially when committed by those in positions of care or authority, can impact on girls’ ability to continue and complete their education.
In both cities and rural areas, violence against women and girls in public spaces and on public transport is sadly not uncommon. Fear and threats of violence and harassment limit girls’ capacity to lead a free and full life.
During emergency situations, girls are also at heightened risk of violence, abuse, exploitation and abuse.
Gender-based violence is also a rising issue in online spaces, with girls and young women reporting harassment and abuse. For many girls, there is pressure to leave online platforms, or self-censor to avoid abuse. This puts the onus on girls to change their behaviour, rather than the perpetrators and must be challenged.
WHY DOES GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE HAPPEN?
Gender-based violence occurs in all parts of the world, but the risk is higher where violence is normalised and where rigid concepts of gender exist.
In many cultures, violence towards girls and young women is accepted as a social norm. This must be challenged as a matter of urgency, and the blame, shame and stigma faced by victims must be eliminated.
Girls must never be held responsible for the violence that happens to them. Violence is the sole responsibility of the perpetrator, who must be held accountable according to national or international legislation.
Fear or threat of violence must not restrict girls from living free and full lives, or from realising their full potential.
Certain groups are more vulnerable to violence, including girls and young women from poor, rural or indigenous communities, those who are or are perceived to be LGBTIQ+, those living with disabilities, and girls and women who speak out about political, social and cultural issues and gender inequality.
WHAT IS PLAN INTERNATIONAL DOING TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS?
Plan International opposes patriarchal systems that seek to control the lives and sexuality of girls and women, that give lower status to girls and women and are used to justify violence against them. We recognise that girls and women have the right to bodily autonomy and to control their own sexuality. To end gender-based violence, we believe that these prevailing systems of power must be challenged and changed.
Some of our most widespread programmes have ending violence against women and girls at their core, including Safer Cities for Girls, which empowers girls to speak up about the issues they face in urban areas and emboldens them to speak up for change. Champions of Change is our global youth engagement programme which encourages boys and young men to identify and challenge harmful, negative masculinities that perpetuate discrimination and violence, whilst empowering girls to defend their rights.
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