What is Gender-Based Violence? Its forms and How to Combat it

Discover what is Gender-Based Violence, its forms, impacts, and ways to counter it. A vital read for creating a respectful and equal society.

What is Gender-Based Violence


What is Gender-Based Violence?

Gender-based violence (GBV) stands as a grave violation of human rights, posing a dire threat to both well-being and security.

When individuals are forced to abandon their homes, the risk of encountering physical, sexual, and psychological harm intensifies – a spectrum encompassing rape, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, and coerced prostitution.


While GBV can target anyone based on their sex or gender, women and girls are particularly vulnerable.

Shockingly, statistics suggest that about one in three women will confront sexual or physical violence at some point in their lives.

This form of violence has deep-seated connections with gender inequality, persisting as a distressing human rights infringement across all societies.

Essentially, gender-based violence denotes acts of harm directed at someone due to their gender.


Both men and women can be subjected to this violence, yet its primary impact tends to fall on women and girls.

This also extends to domestic scenarios involving men, or children cohabiting in the same household.

While GBV predominantly targets women and girls, its repercussions ripple through families and communities, leaving a trail of severe devastation.

What are the 4 Forms of Gender-Based Violence?

Here are a few forms of gender-based violence you need to know

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1. Physical Violence

Any action resulting in bodily harm due to illegal physical force. Examples of physical violence include both severe and minor attacks, wrongful confinement, and unintentional killing.

2. Sexual Violence

Any sexual activity carried out on a person without their agreement. Forms of sexual violence encompass rape and sexual assault.

3. Psychological Violence

Any conduct inflicting emotional damage on an individual. Instances of psychological violence include coercion, slander, verbal abuse, or persistent harassment.

4. Economic Violence

Any conduct or actions leading to financial harm for an individual. Economic violence can manifest as damaging property, limiting access to financial means, education, or the job market.

It can also involve disregarding financial responsibilities, such as failing to provide spousal support.

What are Gender-Based Violence Examples?

1. Domestic Violence

Domestic violence encompasses a spectrum of actions involving physical, sexual, psychological, and economic harm occurring within the family or between intimate partners, even when not residing together.

Shockingly, approximately 22% of women who have been in a partnership have endured physical and/or sexual violence from a partner since age 15.

2. Sexual Harassment

Sex-based harassment involves unwelcome sexualized actions, whether verbal, physical, or non-verbal, intended to degrade a person’s dignity.

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3. Female Genital Alteration

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) involves the ritualistic cutting or removal of some or all external female genitalia.

This practice violates women’s bodies, impacting their sexuality, mental health, well-being, and community participation.

It can even result in fatalities. Astonishingly, over 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM.

4. Coerced Matrimony

Forced marriage signifies marriages carried out under duress, whether through physical coercion or emotional manipulation.

It is closely intertwined with child or premature marriages, where children are wed before reaching the legal age for marriage.

5. Digital/Online Violence

Online violence encompasses various unlawful or damaging behaviors targeting women in the online realm. These acts can be linked to real-life violence experiences or restricted to the digital sphere.

They encompass illegal threats, stalking, incitement to violence, unsolicited offensive or sexually explicit communication, non-consensual sharing of private media, and inappropriate advances on social media platforms.

Alarmingly, one in ten women in the European Union has encountered cyber harassment since age 15.

What are the Impacts of Gender-Based Violence?

Gender-based violence inflicts far-reaching harm, affecting physical and mental well-being. Its impacts include:

1. Physical Injuries: Victims may sustain injuries ranging from bruises to life-threatening harm.

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2. Emotional Trauma: Survivors often experience anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

3. Social Isolation: GBV can lead to withdrawal from social circles due to shame or fear.

4. Reproductive Health Consequences: Sexual violence can result in unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections.

What is the Best Way of Combating Gender-Based Violence?

Taking action against gender-based violence necessitates collaborative endeavors and consciousness. Let’s explore strategies to confront this issue:

1. Educational Initiatives and Awareness: Foster gender parity and reverence through thorough educational initiatives.

2. Providing Assistance: Set up attainable support networks, encompassing helplines, havens, and therapeutic guidance.

3. Legal Transformations: Champion more potent regulations and mechanisms for enforcing laws against gender-based violence.

4. Programs for Empowerment: Bolster the economic and societal empowerment of women to diminish susceptibility.

5. Involving Men and Boys: Urge men and boys to question and counteract detrimental preconceptions and conducts.

Gender-based violence is a grave violation of human rights.

By understanding the forms, the impacts, and ways to combat it, we will create an environment and society where everyone is treated equally with dignity and respect.

Remember, change begins with awareness and action.


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