Protection Risk: Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence is an umbrella protection risk for any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed (i.e., gender) differences between males and females. It includes acts that inflict physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty. These acts can occur in public or in private. The term “GBV” is most commonly used to underscore how systemic inequality between males and females, acts as a unifying and foundational characteristic of most forms of violence perpetrated against women and girls, impacting equitable access to humanitarian assistance. Women and girls experience multiple forms of GBV due to systemic gender inequality and other forms of intersectional discrimination including ableism, racism, nationalism and other structures of power. GBV can include intimate partner violence, other forms of domestic violence, forced and/or coerced prostitution, child and/or forced marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, female infanticide, honour killings, trafficking for sexual exploitation, denial of resources, and/or forced/domestic labour. These must be considered in any monitoring of protection risks. Certain forms of sexual violence can also be directed against men and boys, particularly in armed conflict and detention, aimed at emasculating the individual, and/or reinforcing traditional, cultural or normative conceptions on masculinity or femininity.