Violence against women and girls is not limited to any culture, region, country, or specific group of women. It happens in times of peace and war. It has enormous social and economic costs, as well as having a human cost to those involved.
Such violence is a violation of human rights and an extreme form of gender-based discrimination. It robs women and girls of their dignity, violates their fundamental rights, damages their health, reduces their productivity and prevents them from achieving their full potential. It also has significant consequences for peace and security and a negative impact on development.
Attitudes that tolerate violence are recognised as playing a central role in shaping the way individuals, organisations and communities respond to violence. Five key categories of violence supportive attitudes that arise from research. These include attitudes that:
There are Violence Against Women Acts, but laws and resources are only part of the approach to prevent the violence. There must be a change in culture to end gender inequalities and the stereotyping of women, both of which are at the root of gender-based violence. To help change attitudes and social and cultural norms, we should encourage relevant education for boys and girls. We should build strong partnerships with men so that we can work together for change and capitalize on the untapped potential of non-violent men.