BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Gender-based Violence



Violence can be defined as a form of abuse which involves the intentional use of force or abuse of power, either through verbal threats or actual physical contact, against oneself, another person or a group. Violence and other forms of abuse are most commonly viewed as patterns or forms of behavior intended to establish and maintain control over a person or group of people, reflecting some level of power imbalance between the victim and the abuser. Most forms of violence are rooted in the many types of inequality which continue to exist and grow in societies. Acts of violence may take any of the following forms including Physical, Sexual, Emotional, Psychological, Spiritual, Cultural, Verbal and Financial abuse- resulting in injuries, poor mental health, disability or death. In their various forms, violence and abuse severely affect individual health and impact their well-being. Common victims of violence include oneself, spouse, family or household members, friend, opposition or foe, intimate or estranged partners, colleagues, individuals or groups. This illustrates that most violent offenders are familiar to their victims, however, acts of violence and abuse can also be committed by complete strangers. Violence may occur only once or frequently, escalating over a period of time.

Gender-based violence is any form of violence or abuse rooted in gender differences, disparities or inequalities including gender identity, expression or norms, unequal power relationships and perceived gender. It is sometimes referred to as “violence against women”, since most cases of gender-based violence are inflicted on women by men. Gender-based violence is a global problem, affecting one in every three women according to a 2013 data from World Health Organization (WHO). Gender-based violence is one of the most common human rights violations worldwide- surpassing social, economic and national boundaries. It refers to any act that is perpetrated against a person’s will including threats of violence and coercion. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual in nature. The consequences of gender-based violence are severe for its victims, yet it remains masked in a culture of silence and negligence. These victims suffer sexual and reproductive health problems, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, traumatic fistula, sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, and even death.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and WHO work to consistently promote gender equality and women empowerment as well as to address the physical and emotional consequences of gender-based violence. Non-governmental organizations such as UNFPA and WHO mentioned above, offer programs that provide therapeutic assistance, psychological support, medical treatment and rape kits to survivors. These organizations also aim to promote the right of women and girls by empowering them to live free of different forms of violence and abuse.

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