Gender inequality is a huge barrier to social and economic progress and human rights – one of its most prevalent symptoms is gender-based violence.
Gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere
Gender-based violence is not always sexual, but targets someone because of their gender. It is usually, but not exclusively, directed against women by men. One in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence.
Forcing sexual behaviour on someone or victimising them because of their gender or sexuality is common. It can happen to anyone, anywhere in the world. This kind of abuse violates their rights to bodily integrity and consensual sexual relations.
Gender-based violence covers physical violence (including within relationships), honour-related violence and killing, trafficking, forced and early marriage, forced sex work and female genital mutilation.
People also experience violence or violent threats because of their sexuality or sexual behaviour: because they are, or are thought to be, a sex worker, lesbian, gay or transgender or because their friends are.
Harmful norms drive violence and abuse
The root causes of gender-based violence and gender inequality are deeply embedded in patriarchal values and power structures within societies, policies and law.
Rigid and harmful sexual and gender norms – what it means to be a man or woman – are key drivers of men’s abuse of power, including their use of violence and resistance to women’s leadership.
Rutgers has wide experience on programmes seeking to prevent and stop gender-based violence, by changing this underlying culture in the context of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
We also work with men as agents of change and partners to women to challenge harmful attitudes and behaviours around gender and masculinity that lead to violence. This is the basis of our unique gender-transformative approach. Read more about our Gender Transformative Approach