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5 questions and answers on gender-based violence
Gender-based violence is an everyday, global phenomenon. It includes any harmful acts and threats of such acts.

What is gender-based violence?

Gender-based violence is an everyday, global phenomenon. It includes any harmful act against the dignity and integrity of those who suffer it. Even threats of such acts, coercion, and/or deprivation of liberty – constitute gender-based violence.

It can be committed in both private and public places (home, work, public transport, etc.), against the will of the individual. It involves the use of real or perceived power – authority – and is used as a means of exercising social control, punishment, and ‘correction’ of those who are subjected to it.

It is distinguished from other forms of violence as it stems from the historically established inequality in social power/power relations between men and women, which has led to the domination of men over women and discrimination against them.

Gender-based violence in all its forms constitutes a criminal offense (often a felony) and is severely punished under Greek law.

Indeed, with the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by Greece (2018), forms of gender and domestic violence, that until now were not legally recognized as such (stalking, economic violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage), are now systematized and criminalized.

Which people are affected?

Women and girls are affected by gender-based violence in the vast majority of cases. All women can be subjected to gender-based violence, regardless of their age, educational level, social class, and ethnicity.

However, unemployed, precariously employed, poor women, and migrant women are more vulnerable, as they lack economic independence and social support, making them even more afraid to seek help.

Gender-based violence is also directed against LGBTI people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex). It is used as a punishment against those who “defy gender norms”.

What are its types and forms?

According to the internationally recognized definitions of gender-based violence (GBVIMS), there are four main types of gender-based violence: Sexual, Physical, Psychological, and Economic Violence. However, it is worth noting that local and national legal systems may define differently and/or have other legally recognized forms of gender-based violence.

The forms of gender-based violence are Verbal, physical, psychological/emotional abuse, rape, sexual violence, sexual harassment, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, economic violence, forced marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, and stalking.

What are its consequences?

Gender-based violence is a particularly painful experience. Its direct consequences are multiple. It threatens the physical health of women and of those who have been subjected to it or are at risk of it. Physical harm, mental and emotional destabilization, pregnancy complications, sexually transmitted diseases, and even death are some of its consequences.

Its effects are profound on mental and emotional health. Examples include post-traumatic stress, insecurity, depression, anger, fear, shame, and self-destructive tendencies. In fact, the victim usually blames and hates themselves.

Finally, the consequences for women’s sociability are not negligible, since women who have suffered gender-based violence are often blamed for what happened to them, stigmatized, isolated, and rejected by their social environment, and lose their social functionality, with consequences for their children in cases of domestic violence.

The numbers

Although a daily phenomenon, gender-based violence remains invisible, as the rate of reporting is low. According to the largest-ever global survey on violence against women (FRA, 2014), involving over 42,000 women aged 18 to 74 from 28 EU Member States:

  • 1 in 3 women in the EU have been physically abused since the age of 15
  • 1 in 2 women have experienced psychological violence from their partner
  • 1 in 8 women have experienced economic violence from their partner
  • 1 in 10 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15 or over
  • 1 in 20 women have been raped
  • 1 in 3 women have been sexually harassed at work
  • 1 in 5 young women, aged 18-29, have been sexually harassed online
  • 1 in 5 women have experienced stalking
  • 50 women lose their lives every week due to domestic violence in the EU

Zero tolerance towards gender-based violence is the only appropriate solution.

In order to eradicate it, it is necessary for all of us to contribute. Because it concerns all of us!

Do not skip it when you encounter it next to you.

This article is part of the Don’t Skip column, which includes articles, texts, interviews, etc., aimed at informing and raising awareness of the general public about the daily, global phenomenon of gender-based violence. The column is part of the “Don’t Skip – Don’t Skip Gender-Based Violence” campaign, which is implemented with the kind support of Papastratos.

Photo by Nick Fewings


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