From Ana Elena Badilla, Gender Advisor, Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office, UNFPA
Gender based violence (GBV) is a form of discrimination which takes on many shapes – physical, sexual, psychological and economic - and violates the human rights of women and girls in all parts of the world. It is one of the most extreme manifestations of pervasive discrimination against women and girls. It occurs in all countries at all stages of development, and threatens the rights and well-being of women, both rich and poor. As many as one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way - most often by someone she knows, including by her husband or another male family member. GBV may prevent women from fully participating economically and hinder opportunities for employment. GBV not only impoverishes women, but their families, communities and nations alike. It lowers economic productivity, drains resources from public services and employers, and reduces human capital formation. Women who experience violence suffer a range of health problems and their ability to participate in public life is diminished. Women who have experienced violence are at higher risk of contracting HIV, while fear of violence also prevents them from accessing HIV and AIDS information and receiving treatment and counselling.
The elimination of GBV requires a comprehensive, systematic and determined response. Good practices for preventing and responding to GBV have emerged from many countries around the world. Among the most essential measures includes enacting clear policies and laws; establishing strong enforcement mechanisms; hiring effective and well-trained personnel; and involving many parts of government and the community - including men and boys. Awareness raising and the provision of comprehensive services are also critical for effective prevention and response to the issue.
UNFPA has consistently advocated that gender-based violence is a major health and human rights violation. The Fund is one of the key United Nations agencies leading global efforts on this issue. As part of its work with the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality, UNFPA co-chairs the Inter-agency Violence Against Women Task Force. It is a key partner in the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, a worldwide, multi-year effort led by the United Nations Secretary-General. UNFPA is a member of Stop Rape Now: UN Action to Stop Sexual Violence in Conflicts. The Fund works to implement Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1889 on women, peace and security and Resolutions 1820 and 1889, which call for an immediate halt to all acts of sexual violence against women and girls in conflicts. UNFPA addresses gender-based violence, particularly domestic and sexual violence, by supporting countries to improve policies, protection systems, legal enforcement and sexual and reproductive health and HIV-prevention services, including in emergency and post-emergency situations. UNFPA is leading a joint programming initiative which is being undertaken to address violence against women in 10 countries, involving all relevant stakeholders at the national level, including Government actors, the United Nations Country Team and civil society stakeholders.
Related Publications: unfpa.org
Related video: video.unfpa.org