Gender-based violence is a form of violence that is directed towards people because of their gender identity. Although there are exceptions, the victim/survivors worldwide are in most cases are female and the perpetrators are male.
Violence against women has many faces
Gender-based violence against women has many faces: These include physical violence (e.g., beating, killing female foetuses, “honour killings”), psychological violence (e.g., humiliation, isolation), harmful traditional practices (e.g., female genital mutilation), socio-economic violence (e.g., forced marriages), and sexual or sexualised violence (e.g., assault, rape).
Regardless of the different forms, gender-specific violence against women has a common cause: the deeply rooted idea that women are inferior to men. This is the reason why perpetrators of violence often refer to their “right” to treat women and girls badly and to use violence against them.
Sexualised violence as a weapon
The term sexualised violence is used to show that this form of violence is not committed for the sexual satisfaction of the perpetrator. Sexuality is rather used as a type of weapon to exert power and humiliate another person.
This becomes particularly clear in armed conflicts in a dramatic way. Here sexualised violence against women and girls is targeted to humiliate of the victim and destroy social cohesion within the population. Sexualised violence begins with verbal harassment and unsolicited sexual touching.
The project work of the Women’s World Day of Prayer accordingly addresses the entire range of violence against women and girls. The projects of the Women’s World Day of Prayer and its partner organisations are conducted in the areas of:
- Psychosocial support and trauma work with survivors of violence
- Legal advice, legal aid, and shelters for abused women
- Counselling centres and prevention work for trafficking of girls and women
- Campaign and media work against gender-based violence
- Educational work against harmful traditional practices (such as female genital mutilation) and medical care for those affected
- Workshops and awareness-raising on gender, sexuality, and gender roles
- Initiatives to combat sexualised violence against children, child marriage, forced marriage and violence related to bride wealth and dowry
- Initiatives against femicide (killing of female foetuses, honour killings, etc.)
- Initiatives to combat sexualised violence against women and girls in armed conflict