At WE International, it is important to us to be educated in the issues we are responding to. Please join us in learning more about what gender-based violence is, the effects it has on the lives of many around the world, and the path towards restoration.
What is Gender-Based Violence?
“Gender-based violence (GBV) is a complicated and sensitive subject involving the use of terms such as rape, sexual abuse, child marriage, domestic violence, and harassment to name a few”. 1
“Gender-based violence (GBV) is an umbrella term for any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and that is based on socially-ascribed (i.e. gender) differences between males and females. It includes acts or threats that inflict physical, sexual, or mental harm/suffering, coercion, and other deprivations of liberty. These acts can occur in public or in private". 2
“Violence against women and girls occurs in every country and culture, and it is rooted in social and cultural attitudes and norms that privilege men over women and boys over girls. The abuse takes many forms, including:
intimate partner violence (sometimes called domestic or family violence, or spousal abuse) which can be physical, sexual or emotional
sexual violence (including rape) by strangers, acquaintances, or partners
systematic rape during armed conflict
forced prostitution, trafficking, or other forms of sexual exploitation
female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful traditional practices
forced marriage or cohabitation, including forced wife inheritance and 'wife kidnapping'
feminicide and the killing of girls or women in the name of 'honor', and
female infanticide and deliberate neglect of girls". 3
Consequences of Gender-Based Violence
"Violence has immediate effects on women's health, which in some cases is fatal. Physical, mental, and behavioral health consequences can also persist lang after the violence has stopped". 3
"Population-based research from the USA found that women who experienced intimate partner violence had three times the risk of gynecological problems compared to non--abused women". 3
"Studies have documented pregnancy rates after non-partner rape range from 5% among women in the USA (15) to 17% among adolescents in Ethiopia and 15–18% among girls and women seeking help at rape crisis centers in Mexico, Thailand, and the Republic of Korea". 3
"Girls and women who become pregnant as a result of forced sexual intercourse often terminate their pregnancy, whether or not safe abortion is available. Intimate partner violence, rape by non-partners, and transactional sex are all associated with higher rates of termination of pregnancy". 3
"Violence may increase women’s vulnerability to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections through direct and indirect pathways. It is important to note that violence against women is not only a possible risk factor for HIV but can occur as a consequence of disclosure of HIV-positive status". 3
Gender-Based Violence Facts
"1. Around the world, as many as 1 in every 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way - most often by someone she knows, including, but not limited to, her husband or another male family member.
2. Women are more susceptible to violence during times of emergencies or crisis due to increased insecurity.
3. 1 in 5 women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.
4. About 1 in 4 women are abused during pregnancy, which puts both mother and child at risk.
5. Laws that promote gender equality are often not enforced.
6. At least 130 million women have been forced to undergo female genital mutilation.
7. “Honor” killings take the lives of 1000's of young women every year, mainly in Western Asia, North Africa, and parts of South Asia.
8. At least 60 million girls, whom would otherwise be expected to be alive, are 'missing' from various populations as a result of sex-selective abortions or neglect.
9. More often than not, perpetrators of GBV go unpunished.
10. Worldwide, women are twice as likely as men to be illiterate, limiting their ability to demand their rights and protection.
11. Early marriage can have serious, harmful consequences, including denial of education, health problems, and premature pregnancies, which cause higher rates of maternal and infant mortality. The power imbalance between husbands and wives in early marriages also means that young brides are unable to negotiate condom use or protest when their husbands engage in extra-marital sexual relations.
12. Violence against women represents a drain on the economically productive workforce.
13. Each year, an estimated 800,000 people are trafficked across borders – 80 percent of them being women and girls. Most of them end up trapped in the commercial sex trade.
14. GBV also serves – by intention or effect – to perpetuate male power and control. It is sustained by a culture of silence and denial of the seriousness of the health consequences of abuse.
15. More than 133 million girls and women have experienced some form of female genital mutilation in the 29 countries in Africa.
GBV is often compounded during humanitarian crises, conflicts, or natural disasters. During such times women and girls often become separated from their families and protective communities, norms that govern social behavior are disrupted, and displacement leads to increased violence". 4
Facts on Gender-Based Violence3
Facts on Gender-based Violence 5
1 UNFPA Regional Syria Response Hub. (2015, March). Reporting on gender-based violence in the Syria crisis: a journalist's handbook. Retrieved from -handbook
2 A pledge for parity. (2016, March 7). Retrieved from
3 Understanding and addressing violence against women. (2012). World health organization. Retrieved from
4 Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non- partner sexual violence. (2013). Geneva: WHO Press.
5 Facts on gender-based violence. (n.d.). Retrieved from fact-sheet-pdf/file