Men’s violence against women includes all forms of physical, psychological and sexual abuse. It occurs in all social classes and in all ages. There isn’t a particular type of woman who is affected and it isn’t possible to tell in advance which men will be perpetrators. The abuse may be carried out by someone close to the woman but also by acquaintances or unknown men.
UN’s definition of violence against women
According to the UN, violence against women is:
“Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
Violence against women is a violation of bodily integrity and of women’s basic human rights. It is also a criminal act subject to punishment.
Physical, psychological and sexual violence and abuse
Physical abuse can take a variety of forms. It can be anything from a clip round the ear, pushing and hair pulling to strangulation, knifing and murder.
Psychological abuse takes different forms in the same way as physical abuse. It may be the fear and threat of physical violence or being degraded and forced into abusive acts. Being continuously verbally insulted is also a form of psychological abuse. Being isolated from the outside world by your partner can be a form of psychological abuse. Being prevented from pursuing your interests, moving freely outside the home or spending time with friends and relatives; or being made to look ridiculous, exposed or slandered in front of others.
Sexual abuse can be anything from sexual harassment to rape. It may involve being forced into sexual activities you don’t want to do or other forms of sexual violation.