Violence against women
Violence against women is a technical term
Technical terminology
Technical terminology is the specialized vocabulary of any field, not just technical fields. The same is true of the synonyms technical terms, terms of art, shop talk and words of art, which do not necessarily refer to technology or art...

 used to collectively refer to violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women
A woman , pl: women is a female human. The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent...

. Similar to a hate crime
Hate crime
In crime and law, hate crimes occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, social status or...

, this type of violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...

 targets a specific group with the victim's gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

 as a primary motive.

The United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 defines "violence against women" as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical
Physical abuse
Physical abuse is abuse involving contact intended to cause feelings of intimidation, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm.-Forms of physical abuse:*Striking*Punching*Belting*Pushing, pulling*Slapping*Whipping*Striking with an object...

, sexual
Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or molester...

 or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

, whether occurring in public or in private life."
The 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women
The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women was adopted without vote by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 48/104 of 20 December 1993. Contained within it is the recognition of "the urgent need for the universal application to women of the rights and principles...

 noted that this violence could be perpetrated by assailants of either gender, family members and even the "State" itself.

Worldwide governments and organizations actively work to combat violence against women through a variety of programs. A UN resolution designated November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Women's activists have marked November 25 as a day to fight violence against women since 1981. On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women...


History of violence against women

Some historians believe that the history of violence against women is tied to the history of women being viewed as property and a gender role assigned to be subservient to men and also other women.

The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) states that "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men.”

In the 1870s courts in the United States stopped recognizing the common-law principle that a husband had the right to "physically chastise an errant wife". In the UK the traditional right of a husband to inflict moderate corporal punishment
Corporal punishment
Corporal punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable...

 on his wife in order to keep her "within the bounds of duty" was removed in 1891.

Impact on society

The World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 reports that violence against women puts an undue burden on health care
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

 services with women who have suffered violence being more likely to need health services and at higher cost, compared to women who have not suffered violence.
Several studies have shown a link between poor treatment of women and international violence. These studies show that one of the best predictors of inter- and intranational violence is the maltreatment of women in the society.

Domestic violence

Women are more likely to be victimized by someone that they are intimate with, commonly called "Intimate Partner Violence" or (IPV). The impact of domestic violence in the sphere of total violence against women can be understood through the example that 40-70% of murders of women are committed by their husband or boyfriend. Studies have shown that violence is not always perpetrated as a form of physical violence but can also be psychological and verbal
Verbal abuse
Verbal abuse is best described as a negative defining statement told to you or about you; or by withholding any response thus defining the target as non-existant...

. In unmarried relationships this is commonly called dating violence
Dating violence
Dating abuse or dating violence is defined as the perpetration or threat of an act of violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within the context of dating or courtship. It is also when one partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through...

, whereas in the context of marriage it is called domestic violence
Domestic violence
Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence , is broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation...

. Instances of IPV tend not to be reported to police and thus many experts believe that the true magnitude of the problem is hard to estimate. Women are much more likely than men to be murdered by an intimate partner. In the US, in 2005, 1181 women, in comparison with 329 men, were killed by their intimate partners. In England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

 about 100 women are killed by partners or former partners each year while 21 men were killed in 2010. In 2008, in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, 156 women in comparison with 27 men were killed by their intimate partner.

Though this form of violence is often portrayed as an issue within the context of heterosexual relationships, it also occurs in lesbian
Lesbian is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. The word may be used as a noun, to refer to women who identify themselves or who are characterized by others as having the primary attribute of female homosexuality, or as an...

 relationships, daughter-mother relationships, roommate
A roommate is a person who shares a living facility such as an apartment or dormitory. Similar terms include suitemate, housemate, flatmate , or sharemate...

 relationships and other domestic relationships involving two women. Violence against women in lesbian relationships is about as common as violence against women in heterosexual relationships.

Diagnosis planning

The American Psychiatric Association
American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association is the main professional organization of psychiatrists and trainee psychiatrists in the United States, and the most influential worldwide. Its some 38,000 members are mainly American but some are international...

 planning and research committees for the forthcoming DSM-5
The next edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , commonly called DSM-5 , is currently in consultation, planning and preparation...

 (2013) have canvassed a series of new Relational disorder
Relational disorder
According to Michael First, MD, of the DSM-5 working committee the locus of a relational disorder, in contrast to other DSM-IV disorders, "is on the relationship rather than on any one individual in the relationship."...

s which include Marital Conflict Disorder Without Violence or Marital Abuse Disorder (Marital Conflict Disorder With Violence). Couples with marital disorders sometimes come to clinical attention because the couple recognize long-standing dissatisfaction with their marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 and come to the clinician on their own initiative or are referred by an astute health care professional. Secondly, there is serious violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...

 in the marriage which is -"usually the husband battering the wife". In these cases the emergency room or a legal authority often is the first to notify the clinician. Most importantly, marital violence "is a major risk factor for serious injury and even death and women in violent marriages are at much greater risk of being seriously injured or killed (National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women
National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women
In 1995, HHS and DOJ created the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women, consisting of experts from law enforcement, media, business, sports, health and social services, and victim advocacy...

 2000)." The authors of this study add that "There is current considerable controversy over whether male-to-female marital violence is best regarded as a reflection of male psychopathology
Psychopathology is the study of mental illness, mental distress, and abnormal/maladaptive behavior. The term is most commonly used within psychiatry where pathology refers to disease processes...

 and control or whether there is an empirical base and clinical utility for conceptualizing these patterns as relational."

Recommendations for clinicians making a diagnosis of Marital Relational Disorder should include the assessment of actual or "potential" male violence as regularly as they assess the potential for suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 in depressed patients. Further, "clinicians should not relax their vigilance after a battered wife
A wife is a female partner in a marriage. The rights and obligations of the wife regarding her spouse and others, and her status in the community and in law, varies between cultures and has varied over time.-Origin and etymology:...

 leaves her husband
A husband is a male participant in a marriage. The rights and obligations of the husband regarding his spouse and others, and his status in the community and in law, vary between cultures and has varied over time...

, because some data suggest that the period immediately following a marital separation is the period of greatest risk for the women. Many men will stalk
Stalk may refer to:* Plant stem, one of two main structural axes of a vascular plant* Leaf stalk, also known as Petiole* Flower stalk, also known as Peduncle* Stalking, an act of intrusive behavior or unwanted attention towards a person...

 and batter
Batter may refer to:* Batter * Batter * Batter, * To hit or strike a person, as in committing the crime of battery* To hit or strike a person, as in committing the tort of battery, a common-law offense...

 their wives in an effort to get them to return or punish them for leaving. Initial assessments of the potential for violence in a marriage can be supplemented by standardized interviews and questionnaires, which have been reliable and valid aids in exploring marital violence more systematically."

The authors conclude with what they call "very recent information" on the course of violent marriages which suggests that "over time a husband's battering may abate somewhat, but perhaps because he has successfully intimidated his wife. The risk of violence remains strong in a marriage in which it has been a feature in the past. Thus, treatment is essential here; the clinician cannot just wait and watch." The most urgent clinical priority is the protection of the wife because she is the one most frequently at risk, and clinicians must be aware that supporting assertiveness by a battered wife may lead to more beatings or even death.

Mob violence

In 2010 Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 reported that mob attacks
Hassi Messaoud mob attacks against women
Hassi Messaoud controversy refers to many especially violent attacks against women living in the city of Hassi Messaoud in Algeria in July 2001 and the continuing court cases associated with it...

 against single women were taking place in Hassi Messaoud
Hassi Messaoud
Hassi Messaoud is a town in Ouargla province, southeast Algeria, north Africa. Oil was discovered there in 1956 and the town's prominence has grown rapidly since then. It is an oil refinery town named after the first oil well. A water well, dug in 1917, can be found on the airport side of town...

. According to Amnesty International, "some women have been sexually abused" and were targeted "not just because they are women, but because they are living alone and are economically independent."

Labor camps

Many women underwent extrajudicial punishment
Extrajudicial punishment
Extrajudicial punishment is punishment by the state or some other official authority without the permission of a court or legal authority. The existence of extrajudicial punishment is considered proof that some governments will break their own legal code if deemed necessary.-Nature:Extrajudicial...

 in labor camps of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Their suffering was described in memories of former Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 women prisoners Yevgenia Ginzburg
Yevgenia Ginzburg
Yevgenia Ginzburg was a Russian author who served an 18-year sentence in the Gulag. Her given name is often Latinized to Eugenia.-Family and early career:...

, Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya
Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya
Eufrosinia Antonovna Kersnovskaya was a Russian woman who spent 12 years in Gulag camps and wrote her memoirs in 12 notebooks, 2,200,000 characters, accompanied with 680 pictures....

 and others.

War and militarism

Militarism produces special environments that allow for increased violence against women. For example, during World War II, the Japanese military established brothels for soldiers, exploiting women for the purpose of creating access and entitlement for men (see Comfort women
Comfort women
The term "comfort women" was a euphemism used to describe women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.Estimates vary as to how many women were involved, with numbers ranging from as low as 20,000 from some Japanese scholars to as high as 410,000 from some Chinese...

). Another example of violence against women incited by militarism during war took place in the Kovno Ghetto
Kaunas Ghetto
The Kovno ghetto was a ghetto established by Nazi Germany to hold the Lithuanian Jews of Kaunas during the Holocaust. At its peak, the Ghetto held 40,000 people, most of whom were later sent to concentration and extermination camps, or were shot at the Ninth Fort...

. Jewish male prisoners had access to (and used) Jewish women forced into camp brothels by the Nazis, who also used them. The 1998 United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda recognized rape as a war crime.

Violence in empowerment systems

When police officers misuse their power as agents of the state to physically and sexually harass
Sexual harassment
Sexual harassment, is intimidation, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. In some contexts or circumstances, sexual harassment is illegal. It includes a range of behavior from seemingly mild transgressions and...

 and assault victims, the survivors, including women, feel much less able to report the violence. It is standard procedure for police to force entry into the victim's home even after the victim's numerous requests for them to go away. Government agencies often disregard the victim's right to freedom of association with their perpetrator. Shelter
Women's shelter
A women's shelter is a place of temporary refuge and support for women escaping violent or abusive situations, such as rape, and domestic violence....

 workers are often reduced themselves to contributing to violence against women by exploiting their vulnerability
Vulnerability refer to the susceptibility of a person, group, society, sex or system to physical or emotional injury or attack. The term can also refer to a person who lets their guard down, leaving themselves open to censure or criticism...

 in exchange for a paying job.


Many activists believe that working towards the elimination of domestic violence means working to eliminate a societal hierarchy enforced through sexism. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence
INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence
INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence is a United States-based national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and their communities...

 cited racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 within the anti-violence movement and suggest that violence against women will not end until the anti-violence movement re-directs its goal from "ending violence against women" to "ending violence against women of color." The same conclusion can be drawn for other systems of oppression.

See also

  • Acid attack
  • Bride burning
    Bride burning
    Bride-burning is a form of domestic violence practiced in India and Pakistan. It is not the same as ancient and long abolished custom of Sati, where widowed women were forcefully placed on a burning pyre of the dead husband and burnt to death.This has been treated as culpable homicide and if...

  • Domestic violence
    Domestic violence
    Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence , is broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation...

  • Female genital mutilation
  • Foot binding
    Foot binding
    Foot binding was the custom of binding the feet of young girls painfully tight to prevent further growth. The practice probably originated among court dancers in the early Song dynasty, but spread to upper class families and eventually became common among all classes. The tiny narrow feet were...

  • Human trafficking
    Human trafficking
    Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery...

  • Infibulation
    Infibulation is the surgical modification or mutilation of the genitals in males and females, particularly the foreskin, labia minora and labia majora...

  • Lissette Ochoa's domestic violence case
  • Murder of pregnant women
    Murder of pregnant women
    Murder of pregnant women is a type of homicide often resulting from domestic violence. Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence , is suffered by many people and in the majority of cases where the victim comes forward the victim is a woman . For many of these women the fear of harm includes...

  • Rape
    Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

  • Response based therapy
    Response based therapy
    Response-based therapy is a relatively new psychotherapeutic approach to treating psychological trauma resulting from violence, based on the theory that whenever people are treated badly, they resist. Incorporating elements of Solution focused brief therapy, Narrative therapy, and discourse...

  • Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence
    Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence
    The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is a Council of Europe convention for violence against women and against domestic violence opened for signature on May 11, 2011...

  • Sati
    Sati (practice)
    For other uses, see Sati .Satī was a religious funeral practice among some Indian communities in which a recently widowed woman either voluntarily or by use of force and coercion would have immolated herself on her husband’s funeral pyre...

  • Sexual slavery
    Sexual slavery
    Sexual slavery is when unwilling people are coerced into slavery for sexual exploitation. The incidence of sexual slavery by country has been studied and tabulated by UNESCO, with the cooperation of various international agencies...

  • Violence Against Women Act
    Violence Against Women Act
    The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 is a United States federal law. It was passed as Title IV, sec. 40001-40703 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, , and signed as by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994...

  • Widow inheritance
    Widow inheritance
    Widow inheritance, also known as bride inheritance, is a type of marriage in which a widow marries a kinsman of her late husband, often his brother....

  • Shows red card to abuser
    Shows red card to abuser
    Shows red card to abuser is a campaign against domestic violence launched by the Spanish Ministry of Equality on 18 March 2010 that has the support of many famous artists, journalists and athletes...

External links

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