There are other forms of violence against women, which the UN describes as ‘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 deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.’
Alongside domestic violence and sexual assault, this includes:
‘FGM’ is “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” (WHO, 2016).
A forced marriage is one lacking the free and valid consent of at least one of the parties. In its most extreme form, forced marriage can involve threatening behaviour, abduction, imprisonment, physical violence, rape and, in some cases, murder.
Forced marriage can assume various forms and may occur in situations involving slavery, mail order marriages, human trafficking, arranged, traditional and customary marriages, expedient marriage; marriages as dispute settlement; fictitious marriages; trokosi (the practice of giving young virgin girls to priests to serve as sexual slaves as payment for services or as atonement), and; bride kidnapping or marriage to acquire citizenship. Also, the forced marriage of people with disabilities, where the victim may lack capacity to give full and informed consent, or may lack capacity to consent to sex within a marriage, constitutes another form. Physical force is not a necessary element of forced marriage.
Some situations may constitute forced marriages by virtue of duress, which may be physical, psychological, sexual or emotional in nature, or by virtue of more subtle factors at play, such as fear, intimidation, social and familial expectations, or economic forces.
Marriage by abduction is the unlawful carrying away of a woman for marriage, normally by groups of friends and relatives of/and the abductor. It is a form of sexual violence against the woman and can, in some cases, be followed by rape.
Death by stoning is a form of execution that is designed to prolong the suffering of its victims. The International Committee Against Stoning states “the accused is made to wear a white sheet and buried in a hole in the ground, males up to their waist and females up to their chest, and then tortured to death by having stones thrown at them.”
Also known as widow and bride inheritance, this is a type of marriage in which a widow is expected to marry a relative of her late husband, often his brother. This denies women their fundamental human rights and their right to direct inheritance of their deceased husband’s property.
A Widow is forced to take part in ceremonies that, according to local practices, ensure their dead husbands’ passage to the afterlife. These vary, but some women report having to spend nights alone with their dead husband’s corpse, and even drinking a soup made of his fingernails and hair.
Child marriage is any formal marriage or informal union where one or both of the parties are under 18 years of age. Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 23 girls every minute. Nearly 1 every 2 seconds.
Dowry is payment made in cash or kind to a bride’s in-laws at the time of her marriage. The amount depends on a large number of factors, including region, religion, caste and sub-caste, groom’s education, bride’s skin tone, and the negotiation skills of both the families involved. It dehumanizes women, who are treated like property, and can lead to abuse or murder.
Polygamy is the practice of marrying more than one person and in nearly all instances, this takes the form of polygyny, in which a man may marry multiple wives but a woman may only marry one husband. Researchers have found a strong link between polygamy and violence against women. In Papua New Guinea, for instance, researchers have found a high rate of violence against women by husbands and among co-wives. There is evidence that first wives and their children are often neglected, and that when these women refuse sex they are often beaten. The practice of polygyny is inherently discriminatory and violates a woman’s right to equality. In cultures where polygyny is forbidden by law but continues to be practiced, there is also a risk to subsequent wives since only the first wife is recognized and protected by the law. Second or third wives may be subject to loss of legal protections and status without notice, as they have no ability to enforce marital rights.
An acid attack is an act in which an attacker throws or sprays acid in the face or body of the victim, leading to permanent disfigurement or scarring.
A woman being burned alive through the deliberate tampering with a stove, causing an explosion or to set her on fire.
Breast ironing, or breast flattening, is a practice traditional to some parts of Africa, considered by the United Nations to be gender based violence. Young girls’ breasts are ironed, massaged, flattened, or pounded down over a period of sometimes years, to reduce their size or delay their development. May use large heated stones or implements such as hammers or spatulas to compress breast tissue. Others may use belts or binding. This abuse often begins at the first signs of puberty.