Quick overview of work on gender based violence

  • Despite several decades of work to tackle gender-based violence (GBV) in many countries across global regions, it remains a pervasive problem and a barrier to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  • The term gender-based violence refers to violence that targets individuals or groups on the basis of their gender. The United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) defines it as "violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately" (General Recommendation 19.)  
  • This does not mean that all acts against a woman are gender-based violence, or that all victims of GBV are female. The surrounding circumstances where men are victims of sexual violence could be a man being harassed, beaten or killed because they do not conform to view of masculinity, which are accepted by the society.
  • GBV includes Violence Against Women, Sexual Violence and any violence targeting individuals or groups on the basis of their gender and that the UN Security Council recognises that 'sexual violence in armed conflict and post conflict situations disproportionately affects women and girls, as well as groups that are particularly vulnerable or may be specifically targeted, while also affecting men and boys and those secondarily traumatized as forced witnesses of sexual violence against family members.'
  • There is growing evidence on the importance of engaging men and boys in interventions on GBV, and the benefits that this engagement brings. 
  • As GBV emanates from gendered power-inequalities linked to dynamics of masculinities and intersects with class, race, or other differences, it is essential to recognise that many men also suffer in these dynamics and have shared grievances and goals with women.
  • Interventions deemed successful in tackling GBV also often have important elements of partnership, coalition working, or community mobilisation strategies around changing social norms.
  • The work being done by IDS and partners seeks to understand the extent to which Gender-based violence can become a community issue, involving collective action to challenge and confront violent and abusive behaviour towards women.
  • We aim to discover more about the ways that women and men can work together to assume ownership and leadership of initiatives that challenge the social norms and values in societies that endorse or tolerate GBV.