GBV: global norms and standards:

 Global norms and standards:

The United Nations’ definition of violence against women (1 2) provides a helpful overview to the understanding of gender based violence that BMS is working with as part of its Dignity initiative.

The 1993 UN Declaration on the elimination of violence against women became the first international instrument explicitly addressing violence against women, providing a framework for national and international action. It defines violence against women as any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

For a helpful exploration of the concept of gender we recommend the theological overview on the Dignity DVD resource.


An important acknowledgement:

There are many male survivors of abuse. Men and boys can be beaten, raped as a weapon of war, and discriminated against ― most frequently by other men and boys ― to make them feel powerless, or because they behave differently from the way their society imagines “proper men” behave.

The Dignity initiative focuses on gender based violence committed against women and girls, as many more women are affected by gender based violence than men. The majority of men who experience domestic abuse are in gay relationships or are children of a woman being abused by a partner. Where men are experiencing this kind of abuse, research has found that when they leave a relationship men are not at the same level of risk from an abusive female partner as women are from a male abuser. After four reported cases of abuse almost 90 per cent of gender based violence, in this context, is male violence towards women. Women are much more likely than men to be the victim of multiple incidents of abuse, of different types of domestic abuse (partner abuse, family abuse, sexual assault and stalking) and in particular of sexual violence (Walby and Allen, 2004).

Men need good support and help too. However, to end abuse we need to acknowledge that gender based violence disproportionately affects women.