Programming Essentials, Monitoring & Evaluation
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Forms of Violence against Women

Last edited: October 31, 2010

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Violence against women and girls has many manifestations, including forms that may be more common in specific settings, countries and regions.

Violence against women manifests itself as physical, sexual, emotional and economic.

The most universally common forms include domestic and intimate partner violence, sexual violence (including rape), sexual harassment, and emotional/psychological violence. Sexual violence as a tactic of warfare and in the aftermath of emergencies is also common in the respective countries and areas affected.

Other widespread forms around the globe include: sexual exploitation, sexual trafficking, and harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), forced and child marriage.

Less documented forms, include:

crimes committed in the name of “honour”


prenatal sex selection

female infanticide

economic abuse

political violence

elder abuse

dowry-related violence


Particular groups of women and girls, such as members of racial, ethnic and sexual minorities; HIV-positive women; migrants and undocumented workers; women with disabilities; women in detention and women affected by armed conflict or in emergency settings, may be more vulnerable to violence and may experience multiple forms of violence on account of compounded forms of discrimination and socio-economic exclusion.

The perpetrators of violence may include the State and its agents, family members (including husbands), friends, intimate partners or other familiar individuals, and strangers. (UN General Assembly, 2006)