Gender-based violence is a collective term for all types of violence and violent acts that are committed against a person’s will and that have their roots in discrimination against women and girls. Such acts are criminal acts in line with any other crimes, but are rarely punished and seldom prosecuted due to lack of investigation, evidence, attitudes, shame and guilt, weak legislation on violence against girls and women, and lack of implementation of legislation. Most countries have inadequate legislation, and those who suffer are very rarely granted reparations.
Gender based violence takes place at home, in the family and in close relations, in public life and within faith based institutions. Survivors of gender-based violence are often experiencing guilt and shame and they seldom receive support and justice. Perpetuators are most often not prosecuted and face impunity, being protected by traditions and norms that legitimize the violence.
Gender-based violence take many different forms depending on country, culture and religion, and occur even in countries with a high degree of gender equality. Examples of gender-based violence are:
Gender-based violence is a serious violation of human rights and considered to be one of the greatest health problem for women and girls globally.
Sexual violence, mass rape and sexual slavery are used deliberately as strategic weapons in war and conflict in order to humiliate, frighten and control the opposition local population.
Together with the ACT Alliance, Norwegian Church Aid is mobilising women and men, local partners and faith-based organisations to promote zero tolerance against all types of gender-based violence and to challenge traditions and norms that perpetuate various forms of gender based violence.
We are working to:
- Challenge the behaviour, attitudes and norms that keep gender-based violence alive, by mobilizing traditional and religious leaders and institutions for change
- Contribute to protection and support (medical, psychosocial, legal and economic) to survivors
- Address gender-based violence as a structural issue, as a result of power and patriarchy)
- Advocate for national laws preventing violence, encourage and implement legislation against gender-based violence that ensures survivors access to care and justice
Where we work:
The majority of NCA's country programs have included programs on gender-based violence: Angola, Burundi, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Pakistan, Guatemala, Somalia, Mali, Haiti/Dominican Republic, Brazil and Russland.
In Vietnam a project to mobilize men against violence in close relations contributed to a significant reduction in this form of domestic violence. The methods used have been honored as a model and an example on how it is possible to implement new national legislation against violence against women at local level.
In Malawi, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar projects against human trafficking contributed to protection of children, youth and women through information and awareness about safe migration and also support to survivors and affected, in addition to promoting new national legislation against human trafficking.
In Guatemala a project to monitor femicide (killing of women because they are women) provided not only important information, but also psychosocial and legal support to about 2000 women survivors of violence as well as work to implement new legislation on femicide.
In Ethiopia the use of the method called ‘Community Conversations’ are being used to change harmful traditions such as female genital mutilation and to persuade religious and traditional leaders to declare zero tolerance for the customs. New curriculum on gender-based violence for theological students has been produced.
In Zambia, churches have set work in motion on theological reflection concerning gender discriminatory attitudes, interpretations and practises. Training material has been developed for East African churches connected with the Tamar campaign.
In Sudan the project against female genital mutilation has resulted in a marked decrease in parents who no longer want to circumcise their daughters, according to a recent evaluation report .
In 2010, Norwegian Church Aid carried out a Global evaluation of work against gender-based violence. Between 2005 and 2010, we doubled the number of projects to approximately 100 projects in 36 countries. The evaluation shows that we have succeeded especially in bringing gender-based violence out of the private sphere and making it a common, public concern; from a taboo to something that affects everyone. Work with training in women's and girls' rights, with legislation and public declarations by significant religious leaders were especially emphasized as contributing to reducing violence. Many challenges remain concerning cultural sensitivity and inadequate political prioritization.