UN study - Violence Against Women

United Nations study on violence against women.
(Oct. 2006)

VIII. Conclusion and recommendations

Violence against women is a widespread and serious problem that affects the lives of countless women and is an obstacle to the achievement of equality, development and peace in all continents. It endangers women’s lives and impedes the full development of women’s capabilities. It obstructs the exercise of their rights as citizens; it harms families and communities and reinforces other forms of violence throughout societies, often with deadly consequences.

This study outlines many forms and manifestations of violence against women in a wide range of settings, including the family, the community, State custody and institutions, armed conflict and refugee and internally displaced persons. Such violence constitutes a continuum across the lifespan of women, it cuts across both the public and the private sphere and one form of violence often reinforces another. Violence against women often takes a direct physical form, but can also be psychological abuse and economic deprivation.

Impunity for violence against women compounds the effects of such violence as a mechanism of male control over women. When the State fails to hold the perpetrators of violence accountable and society explicitly or tacitly condones such violence, impunity not only encourages further abuses, it also gives the message that male violence against women is acceptable or normal. The result of such impunity is not solely the denial of justice to the individual victims/survivors, but also the reinforcement of prevailing gender relations and replicate inequalities that affect other women and girls as well.

The State has a responsibility for the prevention, punishment and elimination of violence against women that it cannot relegate to other actors. However, there are significant advantages to engaging in partnerships with NGOs and other actors in civil society and the private sector.

New technologies, such as the Internet, or new circumstances such as free trade zones, can lead to new forms of violence against women.

Continuing pervasive violence against women across the globe fuels cultures of violence and undermines progress towards the goals of human rights for all citizens of this planet.

Violence against women is complex and diverse in its manifestations. This very diversity demonstrates that it is not immutable or inevitable. The enabling conditions for violence against women are socially produced and therefore the processes by which they are produced can be altered. With the necessary political will and resources dedicated to eradicating it and to ensuring that women can enjoy all their human rights, violence against women can be seriously reduced and eventually eliminated.