Violence against Women and Girls

The problem of VAW is not new.

VAW is globally pervasive. It exists in every country. However, the worst manifestations are in South Asia (India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Pakistan & Sri Lanka) which is known as the most gender insensitive region in the world. Women in India have always been an issue of Concern. The folks and society at large Consider women as second-class citizens. Though we admire and preach them in the names of Durga, Saraswati, Parvati, and Kali, we also abuse her in the form of child marriage, female infanticide, Sati, sexual harassment, dowry & so on.

 Today, women are being gradually recognized as important powerful and meaningful Contributors to the life of men, but till a few decades back, their Condition was pitiable. Women in Indian Society have been Victims of humiliation, torture, exploitation, etc. The status of women has varied in different periods. VAW is partly a result of gender relations that assumes men to be superior to women.

In India where almost half of the population are women, they have always been ill-treated and deprived of their right to life &personal liberty as provided under the Constitution of India. Women are always considered physically and emotionally weaker than males, whereas at present women have proved themselves in almost every field of life-affirming that they are not less than men due to their hard work whether at home or working place. Behind closed doors of homes all across our country, people are being tortured, beaten & killed. It is crossing all social classes, racial lines, genders, & age groups. It is becoming a legacy being passed on from one generation to another.

 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a Crime has been recorded against women every 3 minutes in India. Every 60 min, 2 women are raped in the country. Every 6 hours, a young married woman is found beaten to death, burnt, or driven to suicide

Definition of VAW

Any type of harmful behavior directed at women & girls because of their sex.

 U.N. Article I describe VAW —Any act of genderbased violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering women, including threats of such acts, whether occurring in public or private life.

– It is important to recognize that class and Caste also mediate in making men Vulnerable to a certain form of Violence.

Forms of violence experienced by women throughout their lifespan

Prenatal/PrebirthPre-birth elimination of females
Physical battery during pregnancy (physical abuse)
Infancy  Female infanticide (killing of a new born female child)
Emotional and physical abuse
Differential access to food and medical care
Childhood/GirlhoodChild marriage
Child sexual abuse by family members or strangers
Emotional and physical abuse
Genital mutilation
Child prostitution (exchange of sexual act for money)
Differential access to care, nutrition, health care, education
Incest (sexual activity between blood relations)
Economically coerced sex
Sexual abuse in the workplace
Sexual harassment
Arranged marriage
Violence associated with pre-marital pregnancy
Differential access to care, food, education, medical
Kidnapping and abduction
Young and Adulthood/ Reproduction ageDomestic violence
Marital rape
Dowry related abuse and murder
Coerced pregnancy
Sexual harassment in the work place
Sexual abuse by intimate male partner and relatives
Physical and psychological abuse
Desertion (divorce)
Sati (burning a widow at her husband’s funeral)
Abuse of widows
Wife beating
Acid attacks
Forced marriage
Differential access to care, medical, health care, nutrition, education
Old age/ ElderlyAbuse of the elderly
Abuse of widows
The threat of sexual violence
Lack of access to care, nutrition, and medical facilities
Physical and psychological violence by younger family members
Domestic violence

Facts and figures

  • Upon 70% of women face physical and sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • Globally, up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 15.
  • More than 64 million girls are child brides worldwide.
  • Women in urban areas are TWICE as likely as men to experience violence, particularly in developed countries.
  • 42% of women who have experienced physical violence at the hands of a partner have experiences injuries or deaths as a result.
  • 38% of all murders of women globally were reported as being committed by their intimate partners.
  • Every day, 337 cases of crimes against women are reported: – 42 women are raped and 18 cases of dowry deaths occur.
  • Every hour, 5 women face cruelty at home, 4 molestation cases are reported.
  • One-fourth of all rape victims are children.

Reasons for the growing trend of violence against women are impunity (freedom from punishment), lack of social or legal sanctions, and the failure to implement existing legislation. Women are often condemned by their own families and community for speaking out against discrimination and abuse. When they seek help and justice, they are often confronted with further discrimination from the criminal justice system.

Causes of VAW

  1. Individual:- alcoholic, Psychopathology, personal traits, attitude, gender schemas
  2. Institutional:- family, schools, religion, media (pornography)
  3. Social: – sexual scripts, cultural mores.