Worldwide, 1 in 3 women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Tarah Demant with Amnesty International talks to us about gender-based violence, its ties to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and what it looks like throughout the world.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is committed against someone based on their actual or perceived gender or actual or perceived sex. Traditionally, GBV is committed against women and girls, but it is important to recognize that this violence can also occur in the LGBTQ+ community and against men and boys.
Globally, there is an incredible level of violence against women and girls. The persistence of global GBV is due to a structural imbalance of power, where women and girls lack access to decision making abilities, opportunities, rights, and protections in both their homes and countries. GBV takes on many forms, including physical and sexual violence like of domestic violence, dowry violence, or intimate partner violence. Not all violence is physical, and women and girls who experience nonphysical violence like psychological violence, financial violence, online violence, violence against one’s mobility, and violence against one’s children are often overlooked.
In order to overturn GBV, the root causes must be addressed. It is important to recognize that the right to live a life free from violence is tied to other human rights, liked education, poverty, or reproductive health-based rights. Reproductive and sexual health and rights heavily intersects with preventing gender-based violence. Because of this, GBV and women’s rights policies should be at the forefront of government priorities. When GBV and women’s rights aren’t considered a priority, it renders other projects less effective because women and girls cannot access their full rights and live free from the threat of violence.
Since the administration change, there have been multiple examples of explicit attacks on reproductive rights and women’s rights, and a concerted effort to redefine what women’s rights are. Actions taken and policies implemented by the administration disregard the safety and rights of those experiencing gender-based violence both in the U.S. and abroad.
In February, Politico reported that the State Department’s annual human rights report, which helps guide U.S. political strategy and human rights focuses, will chip away language on the section regarding discrimination against women and girls, the LGBTQ+ community, and reproductive health and rights. Excising the content of this section produces a damning impact, changing the content of a government report from objective to ideological.
Those at risk of gender-based violence have a right to live their lives free of danger. De-prioritizing GBV is an attack on a rights-based society.
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