Violence against women (in short VAW) is a technical term used to collectively refer to violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women .Which is similar to Hate crime.this type of violence targets a specific group with the victims gender as primary motive. This type of violence is gender-based, meaning that the acts of violence are committed against women expressly because they are women, or as a result of patriarchal gender constructs.
Violence against women is a pervasive and widespread plague on our society - one that crosses geographic, economic and racial lines.
According to UN declaration- "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women" and that "violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men".
Violence against women can fit into several broad categories. These include violence carried out by ‘individuals’ as well as ‘states.’ Some of the forms of violence perpetrated by individuals are-rape; domestic violence; sexual harassment; coercive use of contraceptives; female infanticide; prenatal sex selection; obstetric violence and mob violence; as well as harmful customary or traditional practices such as honor killings, dowry violence, female genital mutilation, marriage by abduction and forced marriage. Some forms of violence are perpetrated or condoned by the state such as war rape; sexual violence and sexual slavery during conflict; forced sterilization; forced abortion; violence by the police and authoritative personnel; stoning and flogging. Many forms of VAW, such as trafficking in women and forced prostitution are often perpetrated by organized criminal networks.
The World Health Organization (WHO), in its research on VAW, categorized it as occurring through five stages of the life cycle: “1) pre-birth, 2) infancy, 3) girlhood, 4) adolescence and adulthood and 5) elderly”
Whether aware of it or not, a woman close to you is experiencing violence: be this your daughter, sister, friend, cousin or co-worker.
The history of violence against women remains vague in scientific literature. This is in part due to the fact that many kinds of violence against women (specifically rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence) often go unreported or under-reported, often due to societal norms.
Violence against Women (1993) states that "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men.”
Some of the largest milestones on the international level for the prevention of violence against women include:
· The 1979 Convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination on women (CEDAW), which recognizes violence as a part of discrimination against women in recommendations 12 & 19.
· The 1993 World conference on human rights, which recognized violence against women as a human rights violation, and which contributed to the following UN declaration.
· The 1993 UN Declaration on elimination of violence against women was the first international instrument explicitly defining and addressing violence against women. This document specifically refers to the historically forever-present nature of gender inequalities in understanding violence against women. This Declaration, as well as the World Conference of the same year, is often viewed as a "turning point" at which the consideration of violence against women by the international community began to be taken much more seriously, and after which more countries mobilized around this problem.
· The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, linking violence against women to reproductive health & rights, and also providing recommendations to governments on how to prevent & respond to violence against women and girls.
· In 1996, the World Health Assembly (WHA) declared violence a major public health issue, and included in the subtypes recognized were intimate partner violence and sexual violence, two kinds of violence which are often perpetrated as violence against women. This was followed by a WHO report in 2002.
· In 1999,the UN designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
· In 2002, as a follow-up of the WHA declaration in 1996 of violence as a major public health issue, the World Health Organization published the first World Report on Violence and Health, which addressed many types of violence and their impact on public health, including forms of violence affecting women particularly strongly. The report specifically noted the sharp rise in civil society organizations and activities directed at responding to gender-based violence against women from the 1970s to the 1990s.
· In 2004, the World Health Organization published its "Multi-country study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women," a study of women's health and domestic violence by surveying over 24,000 women in 10 countries from all regions of the world, which assessed the prevalence & extent of violence against women, particularly violence by intimate partners, and linked this with health outcomes to women as well as documenting strategies & services which women use to cope with intimate-partner violence.
· The 2006 UN Secretary General's "In-depth study on all forms of violence against women," the first comprehensive international document on the issue.
· The 2011 Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which is the second regional legally-binding instrument on violence against women and girls.
· In 2013, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) adopted, by consensus, Agreed Conclusions on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls (formerly, there were no agreed-upon conclusions).
· Also in 2013, the UN General Assembly passed its first resolution calling for the protection of defenders of women's human rights. The resolution urges states to put in place gender-specific laws and policies for the protection of women's human rights defenders and to ensure that defenders themselves are involved in the design and implementation of these measures, and calls on states to protect women's human rights defenders from reprisals for cooperating with the UN and to ensure their unhindered access to and communication with international human rights bodies and mechanisms.
Additionally, on the national level, individual countries have also organized efforts (legally, politically, socially) to prevent, reduce and punish violence against women. As a particular case study, here are some developments since the 1960s in the United States to oppose and treat violence against women:
· 1967: One of the country's first domestic violence shelters opened in Maine.
· 1972: The country's first rape help hotline opened in Washington, D.C.
· 1978: Two national coalitions, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, were formed, to raise awareness of these two forms of violence against women.
· 1984: The US Attorney General created the Department of Justice Task Force on Family Violence, to address ways in which the criminal justice system & community response to domestic violence should be improved.
· 1994: Passage of the Violence Against Women Act or VAWA, legislation included in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, sponsored by then-Senator Joseph Biden, which required a strengthened community response to crimes of domestic violence and sexual assault, strengthened federal penalties for repeat sex offenders and strengthened legislative protection of victims, among many other provisions.
· 2000: President Clinton signed into law the VAWA of 2000, further strengthening federal laws, and emphasizing assistance of immigrant victims, elderly victims, victims with disabilities, and victims of dating violence.
· 2006: President Bush signed into law the VAWA of 2006, with an emphasis on programs to address violence against Indian women, sexual assault, and youth victims, and establishing programs for Engaging Men and Youth, and Culturally and Linguistically Specific Services.
· 2007: The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline opened.
· 2009: President Obama declared April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
There are a lot of impacts on the society-