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What do we mean by 'gender-based violence'?

Gender-based violence is a term that is used to describe crimes such as rape, domestic abuse, stalking, and forced marriage that are overwhelmingly but not exclusively carried out by men against women. It is a symptom of the historic and current inequalities of power that exist between men and women.

There are many ways in which gender-based violence can cause harm. It can be physical, financial, emotional, sexual, or cause harm and suffering in other ways. What all forms of gender based violence have in common is that they stem from and reinforce gender inequality.

Some examples of gender-based violence include:

  • rape or other sexual crimes
  • domestic violence
  • stalking
  • forced marriage
  • so-called 'honour' crimes
  • sexual harassment

These crimes can happen in public or private life. Threats also count as forms of gender-based violence.

'Violence against women' is a term often used interchangeably with gender-based violence. This is because it is 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.


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