One of the biggest global problems today and one of the most violent and pervasive human rights breaches is violence against women. According to statistics, roughly nine out of every ten women experience domestic violence. As a result, women, their families, the communities in which they live, and society as a whole suffer (Reingarde et al., 2012). Additionally, VAW has a variety of negative effects, such as death, torture, and physical, sexual, economic, or psychological deformity. Girls and women are denied equality, self-worth, security, and their freedom to fundamental freedoms as a result of human rights violations (European Commission, 2010). Indeed, this crisis has attracted both national and international concern and thus, considerably forms the basis of the paper that aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the plight of women in the hands of perpetrators of violence and also, explore available intervention measures.
According to Reingarde et al. (2012), the definition of violence against women can get considered as ‘any action of violence by gender that results in material, mental or sexual trauma to both women and girls and where they are located such as public or private areas. Besides, additional actions of harm within this category may include honor crimes, forced marriages, as well as prevention of rights for inheritance.’ Surprisingly, VAW is widespread in every nation, breaking cultural boundaries, ethnicity, class and levels of education. Despite the fact that majority of communities forbid actions of violence towards women, UNICEF (2000) argued that the contravention against the rights of women are usually approved based on the norms and cultural exercises or rather through the misconception of religious doctrines. Further, more often than not the event of a transgression occurs within homes, however, the maltreatment gets potentially disregarded via the implicit silence, and display of passiveness by the nation as well as the apparatus of law enforcement.
According to the findings of researchers, there is an overwhelming global measurement of the occurrence and prevalence of this violence (Gracia and Herrero, 2006). The authors believe that identifying a society that professes to be free from VAW is a total fiasco, and what remains is just but differences in the progression and patterns that subsist in nations and regions. Moreover, Gracia-Moreno et al. (2013) demonstrated that the cases of a vulnerability of women fall under particular groups. Such as the indigenous and migrants, refugee women, women in areas that are involved in an armed dispute, those in detention and establishments, the elderly and young female adults, and also disabled women. However, considerable attention is given to household violence which is arguably the widespread and comparatively, concealed and disregarded version of VAW (Gracia-Moreno et al., 2013).
There is vast information that has been made available thanks to the population linked surveillance following the WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women and thus contributed to the correlative understanding on the widespread, origin, conditional aspects as well as impacts of VAW. According to the findings of Gracio-Moreno et al. (2015) and Johnson et al. (2008), approximately 13% – 18% of women are claimed to have encountered violence either physically or sexually at a particular time in their lives, by a special person. Moreover, studies indicate that a proportion of VAW ranges from 9 percent to 68 percent, whereby in developing nations women have a double risk of experiencing violence compared to men (Gracio-Moreno et al., 2015). Apparently, the studies show evidence that battery, harm, rape or even murder, is most probably experienced by a woman from her contemporary or former partner, than from anybody else (Stock et al., 2013). Therefore, it is clear that the disparities in the prevalence of brutality against women across and within societies and nations imply that such violence can be mitigated.
The magnitude of the issue of VAW is well articulated by Reingarde et al. (2012), in the journey towards implementing intervention measures from a thorough assessment of the available data. Importantly, there is the high need to acknowledge the sensitivity of the information, such as applying the World Health Organization (WHO), appropriate recommendations of ethics and protection (WHO, 2016), to prevent further abuse of women. Despite the heated discourse about the magnitude of the complication, the reality about VAW is that it is both under-documented and under-reported as a crime. Therefore, it becomes challenging to correlate research due to inconsistencies in the violence that can get perceived in various parameters. For example physical abuse, rape, and sexual ill-treatment in individual relationships, emotional and cognitive abuse, femicide, abuse of adolescents and children, abortions on sex-selective motives, cultural and conventional exercises and also, coerced into prostitution (Gracia and Herrero, 2006).
In this connection, jurists and professions in the human rights category have debated that abuse in the various forms as physical, mental and sexual, in the event of dangerous consequences that gets imposed on women is merely comparative to torture either in characteristic and seriousness. For instance, Reingarde et al. (2012), argues that since the psychological attribute of brutality is intangible, it is strenuous to explain and disclose, and thus the woman can be left in a circumstance that often makes her feel psychologically weak and destabilized.
Looking at the study on the causes of VAW, it is agreeable that many factors account for the harm committed to women. Considerably, these studies have concentrated on how these aspects are interrelated and thus, able to enhance the knowledge of the plight within different contexts of culture. According to Gracia-Moreno et al. (2013), numerous aspects are related and interconnected within the institutions of culture and social factors that essentially render women vulnerable to the violence inflicted on them. Besides, all ancient demonstrations of inequity between men and females concerning power, due to family capacities, socio-economic pressures, conviction of innate male supremacy, government and legislation and also, social sanctions that have dismissed the liberty and social status of children and women (Oxfam, 2012).
Nevertheless, some consequences are associated with VAW which can be categorized using the World Health Organization (2013), viewpoint as follows: the dismissal of important human rights to both women and girls. Also, increased compromise of human advancement goals, whereby the data on the costs of wellbeing, communal and economics have extremely sabotaged the sustenance of development due to violence against women. There are health repercussions that contribute to severe adverse outcomes on the health implication of women. Lastly, children that are victims of such violence are influenced negatively in their wellbeing, conduct, and they may drop out of school and have complications of development.
According to the WHO (2013), violence against women can get intervened. Successful prevention demands appropriate standards of mediation schemes, modification of strategies and also, the regulation and enforcement of the judiciary. Essentially, a multisectoral action plan is fundamental to contribute to the effectual advancement and to foster an attitude of zero-tolerance for brutality. Therefore, major components that get required for the control can be, namely social evolution, justice, well-being, and police. Furthermore, there are first intervention schemes that include school-based initiatives and gender equity counseling. Similar to intervention approaches, the plans for responses need to be diverse. Such that they can support the potential for all sectors, namely advocacy, interaction, knowledge sharing, and assistance. Apparently, the primary beneficiaries of such cooperation are survivors and victims of VAW.
European Commission. (2010). Communication from the commission, a strengthened commitment to equality between women and men – a women’s charter, Brussels, COM (2010) 78 final of March 5th 2010
Gracia, E., & Herrero, J. (2006). Acceptability of domestic violence against women in the European Union: A multilevel analysis. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 60(2), pp. 123-129.
Gracia-Moreno, C., Pallitto, C., Devries, K., Stockl, H., Watts, C., & Abrahams, N. (2013). Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. World Health Organization.
Johnson, H., Ollus, N., & Nevala, S. (2008). Violence against women: An international Perspective. New York: Springer.
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Reingarde, J., Humbert, L. A., Borza, L., Burkevica, Ilze & Paats, M. (2012). Review of the implementation of the Beijing platform for Action in the EU Member States: Violence against women-Victim support. Report, European Institute for Gender Equality, pp. 1-137
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UNICEF. (2000). Domestic violence against women and girls. Innocenti Digest. Retrieved on June 6th, 2016 from https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/digest6e.pdf
World Health Organization. (2016). Ethical and safety recommendations for intervention research on violence against women: Building on lessons from the WHO publication, Putting women first: ethical and safety recommendations for research on domestic violence against women. Geneva: WHO, pp. 1-43
World Health Organization. (2013). Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, South African Medical Research Council. Geneva: WHO