What impact can these forms of violence have?

The potential harmful impacts of these types of violence include:

  • ill health;
  • psychological, physical and emotional trauma;
  • unwanted pregnancies;
  • sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection;
  • suicide;
  • depression;
  • low self-esteem;
  • drug and alcohol abuse; and
  • low productivity at home, in the community, at work and at university.

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

Many discussions of violence targeted at women tend to use the terms GBV and violence against women (VAW) interchangeably. However, VAW is in fact a form of GBV that is targeted specifically at women. It compasses a range of abuses targeted at women and girls throughout their lives and has its roots in gender inequality.

The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) defines VAW as: ‘any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women and girls, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life’.

VAW is therefore a specific sub-category of gender-based violence.

Men and boys may also be victims of GBV; however, women and girls are the main victims. Yet there are some forms of violence that disproportionately affect men; for example, war, ethnic cleansing, and gang and street violence often target men based on perceptions of their role as aggressors or defenders, or more importantly, as the enemy.


Published by Buyi Nkonyane

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