Young couple Vietnam

Gender-based violence

Forcing sexual behaviour on someone against their will or victimising them because of their gender or sexuality is all too common. It can happen to anyone, anywhere in the world. Forcing someone to have sex violates their rights to bodily integrity and consensual sexual relations. Rutgers works to prevent this kind of abuse and to provide greater support for people who suffer it.

We moved from an abusive relationship to one that was free from violence and where we really respect and communicate with each other.

MenCare+ participant
South Africa

Preventing violence

Sex education should encourage respect for others, regardless of gender or sexuality. But this is not a panacea.

To tackle sexual aggression in the Netherlands Rutgers devised an e-learning game “Can you fix it?”. Teenagers are asked to fix situations in relationships that are about to descend into sexual violence.

The Europe-wide Y-SAV programme responds to the prevalence of sexual aggression and victimisation among young people, encouraging better research and endorsing changes to policy and service provision to ensure the needs of all 12 to 25 year olds are catered for.


Woman making defensive gesture

Working with offenders

In the Netherlands adolescent first offenders may be required to follow an educational programme, focused on attitudes and skills aimed at preventing future sexual offences. Rutgers is the provider of these mandatory educational programmes.

Working with adults

MenCare+ is a four country Rutgers programme in partnership with Promundo. This targets men in Brazil, Indonesia, Rwanda and South Africa to make them involved and responsible fathers, encouraging respect and understanding between the sexes. It includes the provision of counselling to break the cycle of domestic abuse and rebuild relationships.

Prevention+ is the follow up of the innovative MenCare+. The programme focusses on involving (young) men in order to reduce violence against women, and to improve the economic participation and self-sufficiency of women.

Sexual violence

Sexual violence doesn’t start at rape, but is any kind of violence or aggression that is sexual in its expression or its intention. This includes coercion within and outside relationships, withholding affection or threatening violence until unwanted sex is agreed to, the abuse of power for sexual ends, and forced sexual touching, kissing or other activity. No means no.

Gender-based violence

Gender-based violence is not always sexual, but targets someone because of their gender. It is usually, but not exclusively, directed against women. It covers physical violence (including within relationships, often called domestic violence), honour-related violence and killing, trafficking, forced and early marriage, forced sex work, and female genital mutilation.

Sexuality-based violence

Victimising someone because of their sexual behaviour or their sexuality can be emotional, may involve violent threats, or take the form of physical violence. Someone could be targeted because they are or are thought to be a sex worker, lesbian, gay or transgender or because their friends are. In most countries same-sex couples do not have the same rights as heterosexual couples, and in many countries same-sex behaviour has been criminalised. These states not only discriminate but also risk appearing to condone violence.


More information

Engaging men in improving sexual and reproductive health and rights and in preventing gender-based violence in conflict affected areas (pdf)

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Annually Rutgers receives support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and its participants