Violence against women, girls, men and boys manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms. Even so, during times of instability, women and girls are disproportionately impacted by sexual and gender-based violence.
In 1993, the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women offered the first official definition of the term “gender-based violence” (GBV): “Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” Gender-based violence has become an umbrella term for any harm that is perpetrated against a person’s will, and that results from power inequalities that are based on gender roles. Both women and men, as well as girls and boys, are victims of gender-based violence. Even so, around the world, gender-based violence is most often perpetrated against women and girls. For this reason the term “gender-based violence” is sometimes used interchangeably with the term “violence against women” (VAW).
For many years gender-based violence was not considered to be a part of the international human rights agenda. In the year 2000, when the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1325 on Women, peace and security, this changed. This resolution as well as subsequent resolutions of what became known as the Women, peace and security (WPS) agenda, both demonstrated the importance of GBV and the willingness in the international community to denounce, prohibit and stop GBV.
GBV can occur throughout a person’s lifecycle, and can include everything from early childhood marriage and female genital mutilation (for women and girls), to sexual abuse in times of conflict or in times of peace, domestic violence, legal discrimination and exploitation.
It is extremely important to meet survivors in a respectful and dignified manner.
Below we have collected some useful links about GBV.
On this page you can find articles, websites and documents describing what GBV is as well as general terms and topics used when describing and discussing GBV.
What is gender-based violence?
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, and continues to be one of the most notable human rights violations within all societies. Gender-based violence is violence directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience gender-based violence but the majority of victims are women and girls.
Definitions of sexual and gender-based violence
IRIN & UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2004
Part of a report-cluster which covers a wide range of aspects on GBV, offers additional views and definitions.
Facts and figures: Ending violence against women
UN Women, 2019
General overview on VAW, definitions, terms, facts.
Understanding and addressing violence against women: Sexual violence
World Health Organization, 2012
Sexual violence encompasses acts that range from verbal harassment to forced penetration, and an array of types of coercion, from social pressure and intimidation to physical force.
WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women
World Health Organization, 2005
This study analyses data from 10 countries and sheds new light on the prevalence of violence against women in countries where few data were previously available. It also uncovers the forms and patterns of this violence across different countries and cultures, documenting the consequences of violence for women’s health. No specific focus on GBV in the context of conflict and war.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, 2011
Overview over VAW, also in the context of war and conflict zones, and suggestions of topics in need of further attention.
Shattered lives: Immediate medical care vital for sexual violence victims
Médecins Sans Frontières, 2009
This booklet includes both an overview over the topic, the necessary procedures concerning the victims/survivors (mostly medical) in the field, as well as explanations by means of presenting the situation in some chosen countries. –
The Egypt economic cost of gender-based violence survey (ECGBVS) 2015
UNFPA, CAPMAS, 2015
The first national survey measuring prevalence of the different types and forms of gender based violence inflicted on women and girls and its impact on women’s health, and it measures the associated economic costs on their families, society and state as a whole. The survey is expected to guide policy-makers and planners to formulate evidence-based strategies and action plans to combat gender based violence in Egypt.
This represents a collection of manuals and guidelines, which try from different points of view to help field workers to cope with the aftermath of GBV, the traumas and injuries of the survivors. Very often the focus here is aimed at situations during or after war/conflict. Therefore most of these manuals are targeting more practical aspects of fieldwork, as for instance organizing a field camp. Some provide a lot of information about GBV. Some try also to set focus on communication with the survivors, as the topic GBV is a very sensitive one and therefore sometimes difficult to approach in contact with the survivor. The effects of GBV are manifold and always severe. There are physical injuries that may remain, as chronic pain syndromes, muscle and skeleton damages, infections, sexually transmitted diseases. In the recent years it has come more in focus that also the psychological effects are severe, sometimes more serious than the physical ones. To name here PTSD (post traumatic stress disease) in all its varieties, depression, panic disorders.
Mental health and gender-based violence Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict – a training manual
This training manual has been developed for helpers who provide assistance and support to women who survive gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual trauma during disasters, conflicts and emergency situations, where access to health professionals with psychological or psychiatric expertise is limited. It is also available in Arabic, Russian and Spanish versions. If you would like a hard copy, we will send it to you free of charge. Please send us an e-mail explaining what kind of work you are doing and how you can use it for your work. We will also like to introduce you to our Gender based violence manual – website.
The Inter-Agency Minimum Standards for Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies Programming
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a horrifying reality and human rights violation for women and girls globally. During emergencies, the risk of violence, exploitation and abuse is heightened.
At the same time, national systems, including health and legal systems, and community and social support networks weaken. This breakdown of systems can reduce access to health services, including sexual and reproductive health services, and legal services, leading to an environment of impunity in which perpetrators are not held to account. When systems and services are disrupted or destroyed, women and girls face even higher risk of human rights violations such as sexual violence, intimate partner violence, exploitation and abuse, child marriage, denial of resources and harmful traditional practices. GBV has significant and long-lasting impacts on the health, and psychosocial and economic well-being of women and girls, and their families and communities.
Working with gender-based violence survivors: Reference Training Manual for Frontline Staff
UNRWA prioritises gender equality and the empowerment of women, and over the course of its existence has achieved much success. UNRWA is now building on this work to address a difficult but important gender issue: Gender Based Violence (GBV). GBV blights the lives of too many Palestine refugees and exists as a major obstacle to many women, girls and boys achieving their full potential. In order to achieve its human development goals, UNRWA must respond to this serious problem.
Guidelines for Integrating Gender- based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action: Reducing risk, promoting resilience
and aiding recovery
Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2015
Humanitarian action is most effective when it focuses not only on meeting the immediate needs of those most affected, but also on protecting the rights and long-term wellbeing of the most vulnerable at every stage. Gender-based violence is among the greatest protection challenges individuals, families and communities face during humanitarian emergencies. Accounts of horrific sexual violence in conflict situations—especially against women and girls—have captured public attention in recent years. These violations and less recognized forms of gender-based violence intimate partner violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation—are also being committed with disturbing frequency. Natural disasters and other emergencies exacerbate the violence and diminish means of protection. And gender-based violence not only violates and traumatizes its survivors, it also undermines the resilience of their societies, making it harder to recover and rebuild.
Strengthening Health System Responses to Genderbased Violence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
UNFPA & WAVE 2014
This resource package aims to strengthen the knowledge and skills of health care professionals to understand GBV, to identify patients who have experienced GBV and to provide survivors with appropriate care, support and referrals. It seeks to provide trainers with a ready-made and user-friendly tool to deliver trainings to health care professionals in the EECA region, packaging the comprehensive background information included in part I into ten practical training modules.
SGBV Prevention and Response
The Training Package is designed to help facilitators deliver introductory, interactive training on the prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Facilitators should have field-experience working on SGBV prevention and response, mainstreaming gender equality, working with communities affected by displacement, and be familiar with UNHCR’s approach to addressing SGBV.
Mental health and psychosocial support for conflict-related sexual violence: principles and interventions
This is a summary of the report from a meeting on Responding to the psychosocial and mental health needs of sexual violence survivors in conflict-affected settings, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on behalf of United Nations Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict (UNAction).
A practical approach to gender based violence – a programme guide for health care providers & managers
UN Population Fund 2001
Manual (74 p.) which tries to provide health care providers with the necessary information about GBV. This manual has some focus on how to approach a difficult topic to talk about, as GBV represents for most of the survivors, in a psychological way. It tries to arouse sensibility and improved interviewing skills.
Guidance for mediators: Addressing conflict-related sexual violence in ceasefire and peace agreements
UN Department of Political Affairs 2012
This guidance offers advice to aid the mediator and his/her team in addressing a frequently used method and tactic of warfare: conflict-related sexual violence. It provides strategies for including this security and peace building concern within ceasefire and security arrangements and in framing provisions for post-conflict justice and reparations.
Handbook for Coordinating GBV interventions in humanitarian settings
Gender-based Violence Area of Responsibility Working Group 2010
A quick-reference tool that provides practical guidance on leadership roles, key responsibilities and specific actions to be taken when establishing and maintaining a GBV coordination mechanism in an emergency. The handbook is based on the IASC Guidelines for GBV- Interventions in Humanitarian Settings (2005) and also takes into account lessons learned, good practices and emerging resources related to GBV coordination within the cluster approach/humanitarian reform process as well as relatively recent global initiatives on GBV in emergencies.
Gender-based Violence Tools Manual
This manual (207 p.) tries to cover most of administrative and organizational considerations required to establish help. Lots of form-sheets useful to organize help practically. Form-sheets for structured interviews etc. “For Assessment & Program Design, Monitoring & Evaluation in conflict-affected settings”.
Facilitator’s Guide – Training Manual for Multisectoral and Interagency Prevention and Response to Gender-based Violence
This manual includes and provides information and (interactive) training to create workshops and seminars, for planning interventions to address GBV in displaced settings around the world. Most focus on administrative and practical issues, some information about mental (psychological) damage after GBV.
Camp management toolkit
IOM, NRC, UNHCR, 2015
The 2015 edition of the Camp Management Toolkit represents the most comprehensive guidance for those engaged in camp responses to displacement. The Toolkit provides guidelines that serve as practical support for national authorities, national and international humanitarian actors, as well as internally displaced persons and refugees involved in camp management. There is a separate chapter on GBV.
Clinical management of rape survivors
This guide describes best practices in the clinical management of people who have been raped in emergency situations. It is intended for adaptation to each situation, taking into account national policies and practices, and availability of materials and drugs. This guide is intended for use by qualified health care providers (health coordinators, medical doctors, clinical officers, midwives and nurses) in developing protocols for the management of rape survivors in emergencies, taking into account available resources, materials, and drugs, and national policies and procedures. It can also be used in planning care services and in training health care providers. The document includes detailed guidance on the clinical management of women, men and children who have been raped. It does not include advice on standard care of wounds or injuries or on psychological counselling, although these may be needed as part of comprehensive care for someone who has been raped.
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons
Guidelines with an overview over the topic GBV, with some considerations about prevention and response.
Checklist for Action – Prevention & Response to Gender-Based Violence in Displaced Settings
Short checklist approaching mainly practical considerations how to cope with the aftermath of GBV and the survivors.
Researcher Trauma, Safety and Sexual Violence Research
Briefing paper- Working and researching with victims of sexual violence can be traumatic to the researcher and can result in secondary traumatic stress or vicarious traumatisation. This paper explores the experiences of sexual violence researchers from different countries, identifying the issues that traumatized them and the protective strategies they found effective.
Communication skills in working with survivors of GBV/workshop
A 5-day-training in communication/Trainers Workshop (194 p.). Enables participants to emphasize better in communication with survivors, and make them capable to organize a setting that takes care both of the survivor and the field-worker. Can be used to set up a workshop with examples of form-sheets, info-leaflets and hand-outs.
Guidelines for medico-legal care for victims of sexual violence
Solid manual (154 p.) which provides with knowledge about GBV and mostly focuses on necessary settings, but strongly practical (f.e. how to physically examine, about documentation, poorly focus on counseling). –
Trauma Treatment Manual
Ed Schmookler 2001
A guide in text-form to raise understanding for trauma reactions that could also be used for working with GBV survivors, and to improve communication-skills for field workers helping trauma-survivors, communication examples for approach.
Preventing Gender-based Violence, Building Livelihoods Guidance and Tools for Improved Programming
Women’s Refugee Commission 2011
New livelihood strategies can increase the risk of gender-based violence (GBV). Women often have no safety net; they usually flee with few resources and little preparation and may become separated from or lose family members. A lack of access to economic opportunities while displaced often forces women and girls to resort to harmful measures to survive.
Managing Gender-based Violence Programmes in Emergencies e-learning course.
UNFPA and World Education, Inc. 2011
Iin consultation with a wide range of GBV experts and humanitarian and development actors worldwide, the goal of this course is to improve the knowledge of programme managers to better address the issue of gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies. 2011
Clinical Care for Sexual Assault Survivors A Multimedia Training Tool Facilitator’s Guide
International Rescue Committee & UCLA Center for International Medicine 2008
The goal of this multimedia educational program is to improve clinical care for and general treatment of sexual assault survivors by providing medical instruction and encouraging competent, compassionate, confidential care. The program is intended for both clinical care providers and non-clinician health facility staff. It is designed to be delivered in a group setting with facilitators guiding participants through the material and directing discussions and group participation as appropriate.
Passing the test. The experience of Liberian school students.
Judy L. Postmus and Rebecca Davis, 2014
Gender Based Violence (GBV) in and around schools is now widely recognized as a serious global phenomenon that is a fundamental violation of human rights and a major barrier to the realization of all children’s rights to education.
Here we present the framework for working with human rights and gender-based violence, such as United Nations resolutions, reports and examples of good practice. In response to persistent advocacy from civil society the UN Security Council has adopted different resolutions on “Women, Peace and Security” – Security Councils Resolution 1325 (2000); 1820 (2009); 1888 (2009); 1889 (2010) 1960 (2011) 2106 (2013); 2122 (2013), 2242 (2015) and 2467 (2019). The nine resolutions should be seen together under a single umbrella, as they comprise the Women, Peace and Security international policy framework. They guide work to promote and protect the rights of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. Additionally, as binding Security Council resolutions, they should be implemented by all Member States and relevant actors, including UN system entities and parties to conflict.
Women, Peace and Security international policy framework – the resolutions
Peace Women, 2019
UN Security Council Resolutions, with overview and insight to each of the nine resolutions, useful to check the “speak local” links.
UN-Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security
Essential and fundamental UN-resolution about that topic – “impact of armed conflict on women and girls”, with proposals how to realize targets.
Strengthening the protection of Women from Torture
Report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, A/HRC/7/3, 15 January 2008. The term “torture” seen in connection with “violence against women”, and some conclusions to be drawn international, with implications on justice, reparation, other (human) rights.
Indicators on Violence Against Women and State Response
Human Rights Council, 2008
Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences /
Women’s Rights are Human Rights
This publication provides an introduction to women’s human rights, beginning with the main provisions in international human rights law and going on to explain particularly relevant concepts for fully understanding women’s human rights.
Nairobi declaration on women`s and girl`s right to a remedy and reparation
Conclusion/declaration as a result of an international meeting on “Women’s and Girls’ Right to a Remedy and Reparation”, held in Nairobi 2007. Participants have been women’s rights advocates and activists, as well as survivors of sexual violence in situations of conflict, from Africa, Asia, Europe, Central, North and South America. Here`s the focus on remedy and reparation for the survivors of GBV.
Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
UN Women, 2017
Gender-based violence seen in different contexts, with the goal to present some of the most important topics: in combination with poverty, reproductive health, HIV, in conflict situations. Issues and challenges with all these topics. –
Gender based violence and the law
Jeni Klugman, Georgetown University, World Development Report, 2017
The Sustainable Development Goals include a specific target to “eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres.” A recent special series of The Lancet on addressing violence against women provides an excellent overview of the current evidence, and highlights that while growing international recognition creates opportunities for renewed government commitment, solutions will not be quick or easy.
Thematic Prosecution of International Sex Crimes
FICHL, Morten Bergsmo ed., 2012
Deals with the topic of thematic prosecution of core international crimes. Its focus is on international sex crimes. It is important to justify the singling out of a narrow range of criminality for prosecution, whether in internationalized or national criminal jurisdictions. Thematic prosecutions should be explained to the public. Absent proper justification, the thematic prosecution of core international crimes is likely to generate increasing controversy. This timely publication will hopefully raise awareness and generate discussion about the possibilities and challenges of the use of thematic prosecution among those working in criminal justice agencies, academia, civil society, and the media (474 pages).
Changing the Criminal Justice System’s Response to Sexual Assault/Gender Based Violence in Canada
ISP EMPLOYMENT LAW, Jennifer Canas, 2017
Trauma Informed Sexual Assault Investigation and Adjudication Training. Justice, for survivors of sexual assault/gender based violence, demands that Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault training and education about the impact of trauma on the brain, complexities and dynamics underlying a survivor’s response to such assault, the myths and stereotypes of sexual assault, and including investigative/questioning skills be provided within the whole of the criminal justice system across Canada, otherwise we will continue to see justice denied.
Here you can find information about gender-based violence in war and conflict.
Conflict related sexual violence: Report of the United Nations Secretary-General
The present report, which covers the period from January to December 2018, is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2106 (2013), in which the Council requested me to report annually on the implementation of resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) and 1960 (2010) and to recommend strategic actions.
Report of the United Nations Secretary-General on conflict related sexual violence
The present report, which covers the period from January to December 2016, is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2106 (2013), in which the Council requested me to report annually on the implementation of resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) and 1960 (2010) on conflict-related sexual violence.
Ten years on from mandate on sexual violence in conflict, survivors and experts call for promises to be fulfilled
UN Women, 2019
On the margins of the annual UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security in New York, at a side event on 30 October, survivors, leaders and experts came together to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Statement: Placing victims at the centre of investigations spurs justice for survivors of sexual violence in conflict
UN Women, 2019
Joint message from Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women and Nina Suomalainen, Executive Director of Justice Rapid Response, for the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict (19 June)
Specialized investigation into sexual violence in conflict is essential for justice, experts say
UN Women, 2019
On the sidelines of the UN Security Council open debate on sexual violence in conflict, experts came together to discuss what it takes to achieve justice for conflict-related sexual and gender-based crimes, through investigation and documentation. Nearly 20 years since the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution 1325, which calls on all parties in conflict to uphold women’s rights and respond to violations, impunity for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence continues to undermine international peace and security. “When I interviewed survivors, they said ‘we want justice,’” said Antonia Mulvey, former gender advisor to the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar. “Many of them cannot read or write, but they know what justice is, and they wanted accountability”.
Mental health and psychosocial support for conflict-related sexual violence: 10 myths
World Health Organization, 2012
Sexual assault is among the most severe stressors that survivors may experience in
their lifetimes. Preventing sexual violence and addressing its consequences requires
substantial attention and resources. Conflict-related sexual violence is part of a continuum of violence, particularly against women and girls.
Ending sexual violence in Darfur: An advocacy agenda
Refugees International, 2007
This booklet gives a great overview over the impact of sexual violence under the conflict in Darfur. With focus on the impact on rape, and emerging issues as protection and health response. –
Sexual Violence and its Consequences among Displaced Persons in Darfur and Chad
Human Rights Watch, 2005
Presenting the situation in Darfur and Chad, with some focus on the social, psychological, medical/clinical consequences of VAW. Short presentation of preferable, necessary standards for response and caretaking.
”Shattered lives – Sexual Violence during the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath”
Human Rights Watch, 1996
Long and solid report about the incidents during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994/95. Background, facts, description of events and crimes, recommendations for response.
Promising democracy imposing theocracy – Gender Based Violence and the US war on Iraq
This report highlights the situation for women in Iraq, and the role the US and the US-military has played in establishing the existing situation. –
Prevalence of Gender-Based Violence: Preliminary Findings from a Field Assessment in Nine Villages in the Peja Region, Kosovo
RHRC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Arizona, 2006
Long and solid report/essay describing the situation for women, with lots of detailed examples how GBV impacted to women then and there. –
A psychosocial model of healing from the traumas of ethnic cleansing the case of Bosnia
Marta Cullberg Weston, The women to women Foundation 2001
This article is about the situation of traumatized women in Bosnia, and how to help.
Sexual and Gender Based Violence against refugees, returnees, and internally displaced persons
This is a solid long (168 s.) guideline about GBV. It includes an overview about GBV, guiding principles, considerations on preventing sexual and gender-based violence, as well as thoughts about responding to GBV (health, psychosocial, legal aspects).
Take five: Uncovering the untold stories of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict
The experience from the ad-hoc tribunals has shown that recognition in the form of a judgment, acknowledging the experiences of survivors and the responsibility of perpetrators, is valuable and can help with healing on a number of levels. With the first few reparation orders at the International Criminal Court, we are starting to see how reparations for such crimes can and should benefit survivors.
Here you can find specific information about sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated against men and boys in the context of war and conflict.
Male victims of sexual violence: war’s silent sufferers
Allan Ngari, Institute for Security Studies (ISS) 2016
Sexual violence is a tactic of war, used to humiliate, dominate and instill fear. It is also increasingly being used as a tactic of terrorism. While the focus has largely been on women and girls as victims of sexual violence, boys and men are equally at risk. Sexual violence against men and boys takes on a range of heinous acts, including anal and oral rape, genital torture, castration and coercion to rape others. Many of these acts are seen as emasculating, and while many male victims are willing to give accounts of what they witnessed, they are less likely to express what they themselves had experienced in conflict.
Identifying and Responding to Urban Refugees’ Risks of Gender-Based Violence Men and Boys, Including Male Survivors
Women´s Refugee Commission (WRC) 2016
Throughout 2015, WRC conducted a research in urban settings, the first phase of a multi-year project to improve the humanitarian community’s understanding of and response to GBV risks in urban contexts. Quito, Ecuador; Beirut, Lebanon; Kampala, Uganda; and Delhi, India, were chosen because they are host to diverse refugee populations, have different policy environments for refugees, and are at different stages of humanitarian response. The project looked separately at the GBV risks of different urban refugee subpopulations: women; children and adolescents; LGBTI individuals; persons with disabilities; and male survivors of sexual violence.
“We keep it in our heart” Sexual violence against men and boys in the Syria crisis.
Dr. Sarah Chynoweth, UNHCR 2017
This exploratory study examined sexual violence against men and boys in the Syria crisis and their access to services in Jordan, Lebanon, and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). In addition to a review of the literature and an online survey completed by 33 key informants, in-country data collection was undertaken in October 2016. Key informant interviews with 73 humanitarian personnel from 34 agencies were conducted as well as 21 focus group discussions with 196 refugees (82 pages).
Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Christopher Anderson, American Psychological Association 2015
Common Types of and Prevalence Estimates for Exposure to Traumatic Stressors. Within the U.S. as many as 1 in 4 males will experience some form of sexual abuse during their lifetime. The number of males who are sexually abused during military service is greater than the number of female service members. As many as 50% of the children who are sex trafficked in the US are males.
Male Rape Victims in the Lord’s Resistance Army war and the Conflict in Eastern Congo
Linda Lanyero Omona, International Institute for Social Studies 2014
Sexual violence against men in Uganda is an underreported crime. Sexual violence against men is considered a taboo in most cultures. It is an issue not talked about because many consider the rape of men nearly impossible. It is clear that men have also been victims of rape in armed conflicts all over the world. The laws that define rape should be revised to include men and boys as victims of rape.
Working with men and boy survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in forced displacement
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 2012
Refugee men and boys can be subjected to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). Survivors have specific health, psychosocial, legal, and safety needs, but often find it hard to discuss their experience and access the support they need. The objectives of this note are to emphasise that programmes on SGBV need to include men and boys, and to provide guidance on how to access survivors, facilitate reporting, provide protection and deliver essential medical, legal and social services.
In some refugee groups, more than one in three men are said to have suffered sexual violence
Katie, Nguyen, Thomson Reuters Foundation 2014
Sexual violence against men is one of the least told aspects of war. Yet men and boys are victims too of abuse that is frequently more effective at destroying lives and tearing communities apart than guns alone. It can take the form of anal and oral rape, genital torture, castration, gang rape, sexual slavery and the forced rape of others. It is so taboo that few survivors have the courage to tell their story. Besides feeling ashamed and afraid of being ostracised, many victims dare not challenge powerful myths about male rape in their cultures, experts say. A common belief is that a man who is raped becomes a woman.
Hope in the Shadows: Male Victims of Sexual Assault in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Miya Cain, Harvard Kennedy School. 2014
As a result of ongoing conflict, poverty and instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congolese men and women have been subjected to various forms of sexual violence by warring rebel militia, government forces, and noncombatants. Most humanitarian aid, money, and international attention supports female victims of sexual violence, but male victims are largely left in the shadows. Simplified narratives of gender violence often define men as “villains” and women as “victims.” This narrative aligns with traditional conceptions of gender roles; however, the oversimplification often leaves male victims overlooked by policy responses designed to address sexual violence.
UNHCR issues guidelines on protection of male rape victims
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 2012
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against men and boys has generally been mentioned as a footnote in reports. There are no detailed statistics on the number of male victims of SGBV but, the phenomenon is increasingly being recognized as a protection concern in conflict and forced displacement situations. Despite the prevailing taboo, there had been progress over the last decade in reporting of incidents.
Access to Justice for Male Victims of Sexual Violence; Focus on Refugees in Uganda
Meg McMahon, Legal Aid Board.
Sexual violence against men has garnered increasing publicity in recent years but still remains extremely under-researched and under-reported. This paper will examine the challenges facing male victims of sexual violence. The paper will look at the broad international framework, including definitions of sexual violence and international jurisprudence in the area as well as generally looking at how the term sexual or gender based violence has come to be associated with violence against women.
The rape of men: the darkest secret of war
Will Storr, The Guardian 2011
Sexual violence is one of the most horrific weapons of war, an instrument of terror used against women. Yet huge numbers of men are also victims. In this harrowing report, Will Storr travels to Uganda to meet traumatised survivors, and reveals how male rape is endemic in many of the world’s conflicts. Of all the secrets of war, there is one that is so well kept that it exists mostly as a rumour. It is usually denied by the perpetrator and his victim. Governments, aid agencies and human rights defenders at the UN barely acknowledge its possibility.
Male Rape and Human Rights
Lara Stemple, Columbia University 2009
For the last few decades, the prevailing approach to sexual violence in international human rights instruments has focused virtually exclusively on the abuse of women and girls. In the meantime, men have been abused and sexually humiliated during situations of armed conflict. Childhood sexual abuse of boys is alarmingly common.
Masculinity and Experiences of Sexual Violence: Case study of Male Congolese Refugees in Kampala Uganda
Jacqueline Mukasa Nassaka ISS 2012.
Uganda, as any other countries receives refugees yearly from its neighbours. Among the issues reported occasionally are incidences related to sexual violence. These issues are generally ignored without taking into consideration the different aspects of sustainable development.
Gender equality cannot be achieved without the involvement of men and boys. But change is slowly taking place, and men are increasingly working alongside women to support gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
Engaging Boys and Men in GBV Prevention and Reproductive Health in Conflict and Emergency-Response Settings
The ACQUIRE Project, USAID 2008
This module is for personnel working in conflict and other emergency-response settings who are interested in engaging boys and men in gender-based violence prevention and reproductive health. This includes those managing or staffing reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, and/or GBV prevention projects in emergency-response settings or conflict zones. Specific audiences to consider targeting are NGO project managers, field staff, health sector coordinators, health promoters, donor representatives, local representatives of ministries of health, and community liaisons working for UNCHR or other U.N. agencies (pdf. 60 pages).
Partnering with men to end gender-based violence practices that work from Eastern Europe and Central Asia
This publication is about five UNFPA-supported projects in South and Eastern Europe that have made monumental strides in engaging men in the prevention of gender-based violence. The people responsible for these projects are on the cutting edge of development efforts, yet they often feel they are fighting an uphill battle. Violence remains pervasive in the region, with estimates showing that one woman in three still experiences abuse in her lifetime.1 Attitudes and practices that perpetuate violence against women are accepted as norms, and countless crimes go unpunished (pdf, 108 pages).
Engaging Men and Boys in Refugee Settings to Address Sexual and Gender Based Violence
UN Women, Women’s Commission & Sonk 2008
A workshop report prepared by Caroline Aasheim, Dale Buscher, Dean Peacock and Lynn Ngugi
Engaging men and boys has emerged as a vital strategy for ending gender based violence, including in refugee and post-conflict settings. While prevention and response activities are essential, the humanitarian community and host country service providers understand that they must move beyond simply addressing each individual case of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and begin to address the societal, cultural, economic, religious and political systems that either perpetuate or allow for violence based on gender to continue (pdf. 28 pages).
UNFPA – Engaging men & boys
UNFPA works with men and boys around the world to advance gender equality – with benefits for all. These programmes are encouraging men and boys to abandon harmful stereotypes, embrace respectful, healthy relationships, and support the human rights of all people, everywhere.
Mobilising Men in Practice – Challenging sexual and gender-based violence in institutional settings
Greig, Alan with Edström, Jerker 2012
By immersing the participants in a programme of dialogue and action that challenge the inherent nature of male privileges and power structures in society – government, academia and workplace – the men learned a lot about themselves and how they can begin to address inequities. By providing step-by-step tools, discussion topics and stories about the Mobilising Men participants, the publication acts as a guide for activists to instil change in institutions that impede women’s progress through both subtle and obvious barriers (pdf, 114 pages).
Masculinities & Engaging Men: Training Manual to end GBV
African Women’s Development and Communication Network 2013
The overall goal of the Men to Men Programme is to create a critical mass of African men who are able to influence communities, organizations and the public to believe in and practise gender equality as a norm. The manual on masculinities provides rich content for trainers and facilitation tips for each session. The manual is meant to enhance men’s knowledge on the link between masculinities, GBV and the spread of HIV/AIDS, and equip men with practical skills for training other men on combating GBV and the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Gender-Based Violence: An advocacy guide for grassroots activists in Burundi
CARE’s Great Lakes Advocacy Initiative (GLAI) 2012
This guide was developed as a resource for communitybased activists who are working to eliminate gender-based violence in their communities. Often, activists have several roles. Sometimes activists provide case management, and sometimes they educate their communities. Some activists do both. The aims is to create an environment that promotes safe, peaceful and productive families and communities and to envision a Burundi that is free from gender-based violence.
Female genital mutilation – FGM – represents a serious impact both to the physical and mental health of the affected women and girls. It is part of reality for many women around the world, to consider as quite severe not least because it is furthermore seen as “normal” in many ways of many of the involved persons. So it represents a major challenge to face because of the many background aspects which are to consider.
Female genital mutilation – fact sheet
Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
Eliminating female genital mutilation, an interagency statement.
Statement of the WHO about that topic, definitions, consequences and needed actions.
Changing a harmful social convention: female genital mutilation/cutting
UNICEF-Innocenti Research Centre 2008.
This Innocenti Digest is a contribution to a growing movement to end the practice of FGM/C around the world. As early as 1952, the UN Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution on the issue
Female genital mutilation: a handbook for frontline workers
Booklet with examples (f.e. Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda), impacts on women`s health an situation, possible prevention programs. –
A statistical exploration on female genital mutilation.
Solid long collection of data, facts and statistics. Socio-economic and demographic facts, underlying causes and attitudes, conclusions and recommendations.
Combating Female Genital Mutilation in Europe
Sophie Poldermans 2006
Comparative analysis of legislative and preventive tools in combating female genital mutilation (FGM) in Europe. The paper discusses the possibilities to combat the problem in Europe, where it becomes a concern too, due to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
The impact of harmful traditional practices on the girl child
Article about the ompact of FGM on girl children. Focus on background, statistics and facts, as well as on religion, beliefs etc. Discussion of possible interactions.
Ending female genital mutilation/cutting lessons from a decade of progress
Population Reference Bureau 2013
This review will focus on a few of the key successful approaches and interventions that have had a significant impact on abandonment, identified with guidance from the experts interviewed. This report pulls together the lessons learned from the last decade and crafts a roadmap for how to strengthen programs moving forward.
Impact of psychological disorders after female genital mutilation among Kurdish girls in Northern Iraq
Jan Ilhan Kizilhan – Eur. J. Psychiat.Vol. 25, N.° 2, (92-100) 2011
This study investigated the mental health status of young girls after genital mutilation in Northern Iraq. Although experts assume that circumcised girls are more prone to psychiatric illnesses than non-circumcised girls, little research has been conducted to confirm this claim. For the purpose of this study, it was assumed that female genital mutilation is connected with a high rate of posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD).
UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme on female genital mutilation-cutting: accelerating change
The UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting 2017.
UNFPA and UNICEF jointly lead the largest global programme to accelerate the abandonment of female genital mutilation, it highlights some of the achievements, challenges and best practices for the abandonment of FGM/C and emphasizes the importance of continued partnerships with governments, media, civil society organizations and religious leaders.
Promoting FGM Abandonment in Egypt: Introduction of Positive Deviance
Pamela A. McCloud, Dr. Shahira Aly, Sarah Goltz 2003.
CEPDA has been working to end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Egypt. CEDPA spearheaded the use of the “positive deviance approach” to FGM abandonment and has been engaged in a learning experience with many partners and communities in Egypt. After working through the various phases of the program, a model has been developed to guide community organizations in implementing FGM abandonment programs. The development of this innovative model has created a strong base for the current FGM Abandonment Program activities.
“Human trafficking” is called the practice of people being tricked, lured, coerced or otherwise removed from their home or country, then forced to work with no or low payment, or on terms which are highly exploitative. The practice is considered to be the trade or commerce of people, which has many features of slavery, and which is illegal in most countries. The victims of human trafficking are used in a variety of situations, including prostitution and forced labor and other forms of involuntary servitude. The sale of babies and children for adoption or other purposes is also considered to be trafficking. A wide variety of crimes and human rights abuses are associated with trafficking. We have focused here on human trafficking concerning women and girls, as this represents a part of Gender-based Violence.
The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols
This is considered as the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime.
”Toolkit” to Combat Trafficking in Persons
UNODOC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2010
“Electronic toolkit”, with a solid collection of assessments and links, intended to provide guidance, recommend resources, facilitate the sharing of knowledge. Legal and legislative framework, law enforcement and prosecution, victim assistance and prevention, etc.
Trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation in the Americas
PAHO Pan-american health organization
Overview over the topic, seen in context with human rights, health, legal framework etc.
Poverty, gender and human trafficking in Sub-Sahara
Thanh-Dam Truong, UNESCO 2006
“Re-thinking best practices in migration management”, solid article (141 p.) which tries to unpack the interconnectedness between human trafficking and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, based on a critical analysis of migration processes in relation to human rights abuse.
Psychosocial support to groups of victims of human trafficking in transit situations.
This publication highlights the importance of considering the psychosocial approach.
Trafficking for sexual exploitation of Romanian women. A qualitative research in Romania, Italy and Spain
CPE, ADPARE, Expert for Europe, SURT 2016
The current research was conducted in the context of the GIRL – Gender Interventions for the Rights and Liberties of Women and Girls Victims of Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation project, implemented from 2014 to 2016 and co-funded by the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme of the European Union.
Why is gender an important factor in the process of trafficking for sexual exploitation?
CPE, ADPARE, Expert for Europe, SURT 2016
Guide for professionals, with a special focus on the trafficking for sexual exploitation of Romanian women and girls.
The Relationship of Trauma to Mental Disorders Among Trafficked and Sexually Exploited Girls and Women
Mazeda Hossain et al. 2010
Concludes that the need for mental health care for trafficked persons by highlighting the importance of assessing severity and duration of trafficking-related abuses and need for adequate recovery time. Therapies for anxiety, PTSD, and mood disorders in low-resource settings should be evaluated.Some articles (online links) collecting considerations about trafficking.
Trafficking of women
WomenWatch – UN 2004
Some articles (online links) collecting considerations about trafficking.
An important aspect of protecting children’s rights is to pay attention to gender specific vulnerabilities of girls and boys, from childhood throughout adolescence. Forms of violence that are being perpetrated against children and adolescents include sexual abuse and exploitation, gender-based violence in emergencies, sexual and gender-based violence in education, child marriage, children’s access to justice, peacebuilding and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) (Unicef, 2017). The following papers look into conceptual frameworks, practices and theories of change within the field of children and gender-based violence, as well as how child marriage, a core development and human rights issue, hinders the achievement of various SDGs.
Children and Gender-based Violence: An overview of existing conceptual frameworks
Save the Children, 2007
Talking about child rights in general is not enough to safeguard each group of this population, and to make them visible. Gender specific vulnerabilities or obstacles to achieving these rights for girls and boys must also be identified. To address the global prevalence of violence, the United Nations is preparing a global study in which Save the Children Alliance and the Gender Task Group will have an opportunity to contribute. This is the background within which this paper explores existing conceptual frameworks to understand gender-based violence against children.
Caring for Child Survivors of Sexual Abuse Guidelines for health and psychosocial service providers in humanitarian settings
UNICEF and International Rescue Committee 2012
This guideline was developed to respond to the gap in global guidance for health and psychosocial staff providing care and treatment to child survivors of sexual abuse in a humanitarian setting. The CCS Guidelines are based on global research and evidenced-based field practice and bring a much-needed fresh and practical approach to helping child survivors, and their families, recover and heal from the oftentimes devastating impacts of sexual abuse.
Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Children and Adolescents: Theory of Change 2017
This document builds on many previous theories of change and results frameworks related to violence against girls, boys and adolescents. These include UNICEF’s past strategic plans and results frameworks for specific types or dimensions of violence, such as sexual abuse and exploitation of children, gender-based violence in emergencies, sexual and gender-based violence in education, child marriage, children’s access to justice, peacebuilding and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). Given the broad scope of this theory of change, it provides a concise overview rather than a comprehensive review of evidence about how to prevent and respond to violence against girls and boys. However, it benefits from many recent international efforts to synthesize what is known about approaches that are effective or at least promising, including reviews by UNICEF, partner agencies, governments and academic researchers.
How ending child marriage is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
The Global Partnership To End Child Marriage, 2017
A lack of attention to child marriage undermined the achievement of six of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) between 2000 to 2015. Since then, the international community has learned a lot. We have learned that child marriage is a core development and human rights issue, which hinders the achievement of many other development goals. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which define global development priorities between now and 2030 – include target 5.3, ‘Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations’ (under Goal 5 ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).
Some useful links to organizations distributing information and working with survivors of GBV.
Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women
UN Women – United Nations Development Fund for Women in collaboration with experts in the field
The United Nations Refugee Agency
Addressing sexual violence
Mental Health & Psychosocial Network MHPSS
Sharing resources and building knowledge related to mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings and in situations of adversity.
UNiTE to End Violence against Women
United Nations Secretary-General´s Campaigne
United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality – IANWGE
United Nations Population Fund- Gender – GBV
Global Protection Clusters – GBV
The Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR) is the global level forum for coordinating prevention and response to GBV in humanitarian settings. The group brings together NGOs, UN agencies, academics and others under the shared objectives of ensuring more predictable, accountable and effective approaches to GBV prevention and response.
Network about Gender-based Violence
The Network is a platform for meeting of ideas, commitment and execution of objectives of varying organizations and institutions in the public and non-state sectors working on gender-based violence. It seeks to promote closer and strategic partnerships for joint programming, implementation and resource mobilization.
Women`s international league for Peace and freedom
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)’s mission is to achieve feminist peace for equality, justice and demilitarised security.
Network about preventing GBV in Africa
We are a vibrant network of activists and organizations working to prevent violence against women (VAW), united in our mission to uphold equality in our homes and communities. The Network is over 500 members strong, working in 18 different countries in the Horn, East and Southern Africa to build a just and violence-free world for women.
Women Peace Security
A NGO working group on Women, Peace and Security
Center for Health and Gender Equity
The mission of CHANGE is to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights as a means to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls by shaping public discourse, elevating women’s voices, and influencing the United States Government.
International Rescue Committee – GBV Responders` network
We advocate for and protect the rights of women and girls while cultivating conditions in which women and girls can recover from violence and thrive.
Womenaid International Caucasus
Is the recognised local partner organisation of WomenAid International, a UK based humanitarian aid and development agency that actively campaigns for human rights and the well-being of vulnerable groups.
Interagency Gender Working Group
A network comprising nongovernmental organizations, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), cooperating agencies, and the Bureau for Global Health of USAID.
IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis Service
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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