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Types of violence against women

Violence against women and girls in the private sphere

Domestic violence, also called domestic abuse or intimate partner violence, is any pattern of behavior that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. It encompasses all physical, sexual, emotional, economic and psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This is one of the most common forms of violence experienced by women globally.

Domestic violence can include the following.

Economic Violence

Economic violence involves making or attempting to make a person financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding access to money, and/or forbidding attendance at school or employment.

Psychological Violence

Psychological violence involves causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner or children; destruction of pets and property; “mind games”; or forcing isolation from friends, family, school and/or work.

Emotional Violence

Emotional violence includes undermining a person's sense of self-worth through constant criticism; belittling one's abilities; name-calling or other verbal abuse; damaging a partner's relationship with the children; or not letting a partner see friends and family.

Physical Violence

Physical violence involves hurting or trying to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, burning, grabbing, pinching, shoving, slapping, hair-pulling, biting, denying medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use, or using other physical force. It may include property damage.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence involves forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent. See more about sexual violence below.

Source: UN Women

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is any sexual act committed against the will of another person, either when this person does not give consent or when consent cannot be given because the person is a child, has a mental disability, or is severely intoxicated or unconscious as a result of alcohol or drugs.

Sexual violence can include the following.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment encompasses non-consensual physical contact, like grabbing, pinching, slapping, or rubbing against another person in a sexual way. It also includes non-physical forms, such as catcalls, sexual comments about a person’s body or appearance, demands for sexual favors, sexually suggestive staring, stalking, and exposing one’s sex organs.


Rape is any non-consensual vaginal, anal or oral penetration of another person with any bodily part or object. This can be by any person known or unknown to the survivor, within marriage and relationships, and during armed conflict.

Corrective Rape

Corrective rape is a form of rape of perpetrated against someone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is intended to force the victim to conform to heterosexuality or normative gender identity.

Rape culture

Rape culture is the social environment that allows sexual violence to be normalized and justified. It is rooted in patriarchy and fueled by persistent gender inequalities and biases about gender and sexuality.

Source: UN Women

Online or digital violence

Online or digital violence against women refers to any act of violence that is committed, assisted or aggravated by the use of information and communication technology (mobile phones, the Internet, social media, computer games, text messaging, email, etc) against a woman because she is a woman.

Online violence can include the following.

Cyber bullying

Cyberbullying involves the sending of intimidating or threatening messages.

Sexting or sexting

Non-consensual sexting involves the sending of explicit messages or photos without the recipient’s consent.


Doxing involves the public release of private or identifying information about the victim.

Source: UN Women


Femicide refers to the intentional murder of women because they are women, but may be defined more broadly to include any killings of women or girls. Femicide differs from male homicide in specific ways. For example, most cases of femicide are committed by partners or ex-partners, and involve ongoing abuse in the home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence or situations where women have less power or fewer resources than their partner.

Honor Killings

Honor killing is the murder of a family member, usually a woman or girl, for the purported reason that the person has brought dishonor or shame upon the family. These killings often have to do with sexual purity, and supposed transgressions on the part of female family members.

Source: UN Women

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16 days of activism against gender violence

The  16 Days of activism against gender violence  is an annual international campaign that begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and continues until December 10, Human Rights Day. It was launched by activists at the inauguration of the Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women's Global Leadership. People and organizations around the world use it as an organizing strategy to promote the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

In support of this civil society initiative, the  UN Secretary-General's campaign UNITE by 2030 to end violence against women  (UNITE campaign) calls for global action to raise awareness, drive advocacy efforts, and share knowledge and innovations.


This year's global theme for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which will take place between November 25 and December 10, 2021, is “Paint the World Orange: End Violence Against Women! women NOW! ”.

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