Gender-based violence (GBV) is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world today. It can be defined as “violence that occurs as a result of the normative role expectations associated with each gender, along with the unequal power relationships between the two genders, within the context of a specific society”.
Men and boys can experience GBV, as can lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals due to non-conformance with socially accepted gender identities, but the vast majority of incidents are perpetrated against women and girls due to their subordinate position and inequitable power dynamics in society. For this reason, AmplifyChange focuses primarily on prevention and response to GBV perpetrated against women and girls. We also provide support to organisations tackling discrimination towards individuals on the ground of sexual orientation through our Stigma portfolio (more information here).
GBV encompasses physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse and violence within the family or community, as well as violence perpetrated or condoned by the state. It can take many forms, including intimate partner violence (IPV); sexual violence; trafficking; femicide; and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C); child, early and forced marriage (CEFM); honour crimes and dowry-related violence among others.
The different types of GBV are not mutually exclusive. A girl or woman may experience multiple forms simultaneously and over the course of a lifetime. Any woman can be subjected to GBV regardless of age, race, class, religion, ethnicity or sexuality. Gender inequality and social norms that discriminate against and subordinate women and girls are at the root of GBV.
The link between GBV and poor mental health is well established. For example, mental illness rates are 3-5 times higher in women who are exposed to IPV, and recent evidence has highlighted the reciprocal relationship between depression, suicide and IPV.
GBV leads to devastating health and social consequences for the individuals who experience it, their families and communities. It severely impedes women and girls in particular from realising their rights to the highest attainable status of health, to live free from violence and to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. It prevents their active participation in education and in social, economic and political life. GBV is a significant barrier to the eradication of poverty and the achievement of sustainable development. The experience of GBV may impact on health seeking behaviour of women, particularly in relation to maternity and other SRHR services; a fact that many service providers are not aware of or sensitive to.
If you are thinking of applying for an AmplifyChange grant, and want to know more about the sorts of activities shown to be effective and that we are interested in supporting to help prevent and respond to GBV, please refer to the Levers for change section within the PDF below.