What is Violence Against Women?

When violence is perpetrated against women in intimate relationships it is called Battering.

Battering is a systematic pattern of domination where the abuser uses abusive tactics to maintain power and control over the woman. These tactics can escalate over time and result in the woman altering her behaviour in an attempt to stop the abuse even though she has done nothing to ‘start’ the abuse.

Violence against Women can include non-physical abuse.

What is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse can be described as a tactic of power of control where the abuser uses words and actions that make the victim feel “bad” about themselves or feel like they are going “crazy”.


To Stop Violence Against Women

We must ask what is EMPOWERMENT?
Empowerment is the idea of being fully able to authorize ourselves to be ourselves. Empowerment is the process of enabling ourselves to be ourselves. Women who survive violence and abuse and who access our myriad of services and programs, as soon as they reach out are engaging in the empowerment process. As 52% of the population it matters significantly that women are empowered.

Strong women means strong family and strong community.

A Male Perspective on Violence Against Women
Byron Patrick Hurt (born December 31, 1969) is an American activist and documentary filmmaker. He attended Northeastern University as a quarterback, and founded God Bless the Child Productions before graduating with a degree in Journalism in 1993. Upon graduation he was hired by the university’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society to help form the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program with the purpose of educating young men about gender and sexual violence.

After 16 years of prevention work Hurt said, “I can just about predict the kind of things we men will say in gender violence prevention workshops or in Q&A sessions to avoid talking about the real issues. No matter where I am, the level of deflection and avoidance that takes place in my training sessions has been very consistent over the years.

“Many, not all, but many of us men DEFLECT any focus on our negative attitudes and behaviors toward women BACK onto the WOMEN as if it is their problem, and as a way to avoid taking responsibility for our own actions. In other words we blame women for our abusive behavior. Some of us deny that the gender or sexual violence exists at all. At one point in my life, I have been guilty of doing this myself.”’

Upon hearing men quote the same excuses repeatedly about why violence against women occurs, Hurt compiled his own personal ‘Top 10’ list on:

The Excuses Men Make to Justify Violence Against Women

10. Some women think you don’t love them if you don’t hit them.
9. Why would she wear revealing clothes if she didn’t want negative
8. Some women know how to push our buttons, and so we “just snap.”
7. She disrespected me.
6. She must have done something to deserve it.
5. If she wants to hit like a man, she ought to be beaten like a man.
4. Why would a woman go somewhere (a party, club, or social event) if
she knows guys are going to treat her like that?
3. A man is only going to do to a woman what a woman allows him to do.
2. Some women like to be hit/cat-called.
1. She made me do it.


Violence Against Women – Statistical Realities

We cannot escape the facts. The facts consistently demonstrate that women and girls are disproportionately victimized in our society in ways that threaten their physical, emotional, psychological and sexual well-being. This issue goes beyond human rights violations. It points instead to the reality of systematic gender-based abuse perpetuated year after year, generation after generation, against half the world’s population.

According to Statistics Canada:

  1. One-half of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of violence since the age of 16 (1993).
  2. One in three Canadian women were victims of assault by a spouse or partner (1993).
  3. Four in ten Canadian women were victims of sexual assault (1993).
  4. Of all the provinces, the highest rate of violence was reported by women in B.C. (59%) (1993).
  5. 16% of all Canadian women (1.7 million) have been involved in at least one incident of sexual or physical assault by a date or boyfriend since the age of 16 (1993).
  6. Half of all women who reported an incident of dating violence were between the ages of 18-34 (1993).
  7. 24% of women 18 – 24 years had been sexually and/or physically assaulted by a date or boyfriend. This figure is 50 per cent higher than the national figure of 16 per cent (1993).
  8. In Canada, almost 75 women are murdered by their partner each year (2006).
  9. 98% of sex offenders are men and 82% of the survivors of these assaults are girls and women (1999).


Economic Impacts of Violence Against Women:
Violence against women represents a drain on the economically productive workforce: Canada’s national survey on violence against women reported that 30% of battered wives had to cease regular activities due to the abuse, and 50% of women had to take sick leave from work because of the harm sustained (Krug, et al., 2002).

The ultimate goal when faced with statistics that reflect such grim violence must be to establish and pursue a socio-cultural framework for change that is rooted in justice for women, and supported by a judicial system that holds perpetrators accountable for their actions.


A Report on Violence Against Women from the United Nations
Violence Against Women as the United Nations defines it:

“Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental 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 includes (but is not limited to):

  • Gender-based domestic violence
  • Rape, marital rape and incest
  • Forced marriage
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Murder and assault including dowry-related violence and honour killings
  • Human trafficking including cross-border prostitution rings and bride kidnappings
  • War crimes including rape as a weapon of war


Violence Against Women – Some Key Facts from the U.N.

  • Violence Against Women is a huge public health issue and a violation of human rights. It results in a wide range of physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health issues for both men and women, compounded by women who are afraid to report the violence she faces. With little access to healthcare, education and opportunity, many women are left open to abuse.
  • Up to one in three women experience physical or sexual violence in their lives. This means your mother, sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter, cousin, or even you, may be or have been abused in some manner in your lives.
    Do not be deceived: Violence against women is all about power. It is the attempted domination over your life by your abuser.
  • Violence against women is also a national health concern. Intimate partner abuse, or Domestic Violence, was estimated to exceed US$5.8 billion a year in the United States alone. The majority went into direct medical and healthcare services, something most women lack access to until something serious happens.
    Violence against women is NOT a private of family issue. It is a community and public health issue affecting not only the abuser and his victim but everyone around them.


How big is the problem of Violence Against Women throughout the world?
Violence Against Women, at its core, is about subjugating women. It is the domination of a woman by another human being. One in three women have been abused or subjected to gender-based violence in their lives.
Here are some hard facts:

  • The most common persistent act of Violence Against Women is violence by an intimate partner, aka domestic violence. In a 10-year study conducted by the WHO (World Health Organisation), between 15% to 75% of women report physical and/or sexual violence by a husband or partner. Marital rape, a common aspect of domestic violence, is often not seen as a criminal offence, but a domestic dispute, something that could lead to a woman’s death.
  • 5,000 women die each year in the dubious name of honour. Most times they are killed to protect the “honour” of the men who abused them. These women were raped, molested, or impregnate against their will. They were then subsequently murdered in cold blood. Some girls were guilty of simply being girls. They too, were murdered because their fathers and uncles thought they needed to be taught a lesson.
  • Women and girls are still being forced into marriages against their will, particularly in Asia, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these women are seen as being merely chattels and are discouraged (sometimes violently) from pursuing their education.
  • Worldwide, up to 1 in 5 women report being sexually abused as children. These children are more vulnerable to other forms of abuse in their lives compared to most.


Who is at risk?

  • All women and girls across all levels of society, culture and nationality are at risk.
  • However, poorly-educated women with low social status in their community are at a higher risk of being abused and violated. Often they do not know their own rights. The lack of healthcare access and education often hamper efforts for these women to make lives better for them and their children.


What are the health consequences of Violence Against Women?

Physical and sexual abuse by a partner is closely associated with injuries including (but not limited to):

  • Bruising
  • Broken Limbs
  • Sprained limbs
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Concussions
  • Open wounds


Deaths from violence against women include:

  • Honour killings (by families for cultural reasons)
  • Suicide
  • Female infanticide (murder of infant girls)
  • Maternal death from unsafe abortion and battery
  • Death from battering and other physical violence


Physical health
Abuse can result in many health problems, including:

  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Limited mobility
  • Poor overall health status


Sexual and reproductive health
Violence against women is associated with:

  • Sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS
  • Unintended pregnancies
  • Gynecological problems
  • Induced abortions
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage, low birth weight and fetal death


Risky behaviours
Sexual abuse as a child is associated with:

  • Higher rates of sexual risk-taking such as first sex at an early age, multiple partners and unprotected sex
  • Substance use
  • Additional victimization

Each of these behaviours increases the risk of health problems.

Mental health
Violence and abuse increase the risk of:

  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Eating disorders
  • Emotional distress


What are some of the international efforts taking place to stop Violence Against Women?
Various grassroots, non-profit and non-governmental organizations around the world including Women’s Aid Organization Malaysia and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence provide support, education and counselling to abused women and children. These services include but aren’t limited to:

  • Shelters for abused women and children
  • Legal and emotional counselling for victims
  • Lobbying various governments to recognize gender-based violence as a human rights issue and to pass laws and legislation to safeguard women and children,
  • Providing women with the practical means to escape their abusers.

Our International partners in the mission to end Violence Against Women:
The United Nations and its various agencies including the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have launched a major campaign in February 2008: “UNite to End Violence against Women,” a 7-year effort ending in 2015 aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls in all parts of the world. The Pixel Project is a launch partner for UNIFEM.

Would you like to know more about Violence Against Women?
If you would like to find out more visit:
UNIFEM’s “Say NO” campaign.

To view country-specific fact sheets on the health consequences for Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Samoa, Serbia Montenegro, United Republic of Tanzania, and Thailand, click here.

For more than 30 years Battered Women’s Support Services has been a registered charity and non-profit organization that exists for the sole purpose of helping women break free from violence. Our organization is fully committed to its mission, and the passion and dedication of our staff, volunteers and members is inspiring. Just by reading the following information you are educating yourself to be a part of the solution and not the problem. Thank you for visiting The Violence Stops Here and joining us in our mission to end violence against women once and for all.