Violence against women

violent acts committed primarily by men against women and girls

Violence against women (VAW) are violent acts, the victims of which are exclusively women or girls.

A Bulgarian poster urging people to open their eyes about domestic violence against women


  • Feminism in the United States has never emerged from the women who are most victimized by sexist oppression; women who are daily beaten down, mentally, physically, and spiritually-women who are powerless to change their condition in life. They are a silent majority. A mark of their victimization is that they accept their lot in life without visible question, without organized protest, without collective anger or rage.
  • We all grow in a culture in which women's bodies are constantly turned into things, into objects. [...] Of course these affects female self-steem. It also does something even more insidious. It create a climate in which there is wide-spread violence against women. [...] Turning a human being into a thing is the first step towards justified violence against that person.
    • Jean Kilbourne, as quoted in Feminism in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose, p. 71. Editors Tara Prescott, Aaron Drucker. Editorial McFarland, 2012. ISBN 1476600929.
  • For sheer brutality on woman, I do not remember anything in history to match the Malabar rebellion.
    • Gandhi and Anarchy by Sir Sankaran Nair, Tagore and Co., Madras, 1922
  • Women are frequently treated as property, they are sold into marriage, into trafficking, into sexual slavery. Violence against women frequently takes the form of sexual violence. Victims of such violence are often accused of promiscuity and held responsible for their fate, while infertile women are rejected by husbands, families and communities. In many countries, married women may not refuse to have sexual relations with their husbands, and often have no say in whether they use contraception [...] Ensuring that women have full autonomy over their bodies is the first crucial step towards achieving substantive equality between women and men. Personal issues—such as when, how and with whom they choose to have sex, and when, how and with whom they choose to have children—are at the heart of living a life in dignity.
  • I woke up that night to the screams of women. I don’t know when I’d fallen asleep, or passed out, but when I woke up, the manic, lost, women were all around me, walking, shambling. I remember that night, my first night in this asylum – I had retreated into the corner, into the shadows, and looked through the bars, bars that had been chained with many locks. The locks were like eyes: the eyes of a man’s vigilance. As I focused, the lock slowly extended to reveal the form of a man, a man sprawling on the bed: I thought of the violence of beds, of my marriage. The man on this bed was my husband – a man who used to beat me metal-blue to eliminate his fear of women. There were other ways of elimination: polishing his black boots and making them shine, washing his clothes, suspending them onto a hanging wire. And the starvation. And the rising lilt of his family’s voices: awaara. A cuss word, a slap – his marriage to me? – The violence of a mongering dog, his teeth digging into my flesh. His skin the color of a chameleon turned blue. Me? I was a churi, a glass bangle. The house? The impersonation of a ghetto. My agency, his anger. So I ran. I ran to a divorce, yes, and I reached my destination after six months of torture. But the six months led to psychosis. So my mother dragged me here, to this mental asylum. Then I woke up, that night, to the screams of women.

See also

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