Violence against women

Violence against women (VAW), also known as gender-based violence[1] and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV),[2] are violent acts primarily or exclusively committed against women or girls. Such violence is often considered a form of hate crime,[3] committed against women or girls specifically because they are female, and can take many forms.

A map of the world showing murders per 100,000 population committed against women, 2019

VAW has a very long history, though the incidents and intensity of such violence have varied over time and even today vary between societies. Such violence is often seen as a mechanism for the subjugation of women, whether in society in general or in an interpersonal relationship. Such violence may arise from a sense of entitlement, superiority, misogyny or similar attitudes in the perpetrator or his violent nature, especially against women.

The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women states, "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women" and "violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men."[4]

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, declared in a 2006 report posted on the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) website:

Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her.[5]