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Gender-Based Violence


Which is the definition of gender-based violence?  
According to Article 1 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women adopted by the UN on 20 December 1993  gender-based violence concerns “any act of violence that causes or is likely to cause physical, sexual or psychological harm, including threats of violence, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, both in public and private life”.

The Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Act defines GBV as “all acts or omissions that are directed against a person because of their gender, that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”

Which is the difference between gender-based violence and violence against women?

According to the Istanbul Convention, violence against women concerns all acts of violence against women that result, or may result, in physical, sexual or psychological injury or suffering, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. This type of violence is a demonstration of the historical inequality between men and women, whose foundations date back to deep cultural motivations and traditional patterns of gender relations.

Is gender-based violence just about women?

No, gender-based violence is not just about women. This violence occurs due to sexual orientation, sex or gender, and it also involves LGBTQI individuals (gay, bisexual and transgender women and men).

How to prevent gender-based violence?
It is essential to follow some advice: 

  • Never underestimate the risks you may take;
  • Do not justify violent behaviour in the name of love;
  • Get away from the potentially violent environment;
  • Remember to be careful;
  • Share your story with the people you trust;
  • Collect and store evidence of threats or stalking (letters, telephone messages– threatening videos and photos, messages on Facebook, mail, etc.);
  • Ask for help from those around you and from the Police.
What types of gender-based violence exists?
Gender violence can be of different types:
  • physical: demonstration of cruelty by physical aggression (kicks, punches, burns) or towards the things with which the person has affection or a connection (animals, home furniture, car, documents);                                                                                                      
  • psychological: lack of respect that offends the dignity and manifests itself through continuous criticism, humiliation, insults, intimidation (prohibition of seeing family and friends, continuous and pressing controls, threats to harm family members) which leads to devastating consequences such as states of anxiety, fear, depression, loss of self-esteem and a sense of shame;     
  • economical: the implementation of a series of behaviours aimed at controlling and limiting economic autonomy (preventing work, appropriation of property, not informing of family income, obligation to sign documents);
  • sexual: involvement in sexual acts without consent, obtained by force or blackmail, often by a person known as the former partner, colleague or neighbour;  can also include: revenge porn and sextortion, 
  • female genital mutilation: refers to 'all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.’(WHO)
  • forced marriage: ‘forced marriages are marriages in which one and/or both parties have not personally expressed their full and free consent to the union.’ (OHCHR, n.d.)
  • human trafficking/slavery/ sexual exploitation: “…the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of the position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”(UN, Palermo Protocol, 2000)
  • stalking: persecuting acts (day time and night calls, messages, anonymous letters, stakeouts) in different relationship contexts (couple, family, workplace, school) consisting of continuous and extensive intrusions into public and private life that generate in the victim, states of anxiety and fear to the point of compromising his/her everyday life
  • enforced sterilisation: ‘performing surgery which has the purpose or effect of terminating a woman’s capacity to naturally reproduce without her prior and informed consent or understanding of the procedure.’
  • forced pregnancy: the unlawful confinement of a woman forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of any population or carrying out other grave violations of international law.
What are the effects of gender-based violence?
Victims of gender-based violence will experience a range of emotions, including fear, confusion, uncertainty, worry concerning their children, instability and anxiety, all of which make it increasingly difficult to leave the relationship. Research has shown that gender-based violence causes lasting damage to a victim’s physical and mental health, affecting all areas of their lives, including work, relationships, social life, confidence and self-esteem etc. Recovering from the impact of this kind of violence is a process which can be a long and painful journey.
How can I get support if I have no income?  
By using the Violet Support Online chat service, you can receive emotional support, whatever your situation is.
What are the victim’s right?
First of all, victims of gender-based violence have the right to seek compensation for any damage suffered.
Secondly, the victim may initiate legal proceedings. The victim can report the violence that she/he has suffered and can request a protection order against her/his attacker.