VAW: The Issues

The Issues

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. It can include physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse, and it cuts across boundaries of age, race, culture, wealth and geography. It takes place in the home, on the streets, in schools, the workplace, in farm fields, refugee camps, during conflicts and crises. It has many manifestations — from the most universally prevalent forms of domestic and sexual violence, to harmful practices, abuse during pregnancy, so-called honour killings and other types of femicide.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is behavior used by one person to control the other. This includes emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse. Victims and perpetrators may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; related, not related, living together, separated or dating. Some examples of domestic violence include: physical assault or the threat of physical assault, name-calling, forced social isolation, withholding money or jobs, stalking, and name calling, among others.


Rape is the crime of forcing somebody into sexual activity against his or her will through use of physical force, threat of injury, or other duress.

Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is the name for procedures that intentionally alter, cut or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice has no health benefits. FGM is practiced in many places as a coming-of-age-tradition and is usually performed on girls between infancy and 14 years old.

Forced and Early Marriage

Early marriage is the marriage of children under the age of 18, while forced marriage occurs when one or both of the parties do not willingly enter into the marital relationship. Both are forms of violence against girls.