The term is highly contested; however, gender-based violence (GBV) is not less useful as a general descriptor, and can help shine a more egalitarian light on the forms of suffering that people face based on gender. Affording all interpretations, we define Gender-Based Violence as acts of violence, including physical, sexual, and mental harm perpetrated against a person's will, for whatever reason, based on their socially-ascribed gender. For instance, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is an example of violence particularly against girls. On the other hand, a form of violence that both men and women may face are attacks based on their sexual orientation or gender identification for those who are gay, lesbian, transgender, cisgender, etc. Boys and girls also face forced conscription as child soldiers; however, the experience of girls, typically is defined by the presence of sexual assaults.
Though men and boys also suffer from gender-based acts of violence, women and girls are particularly vulnerable to the largest group of perpetrators of GBV, which is men. For this reason, we focus on the study of resiliency in the face of gender-based violence against women and girls.
Persistent inequalities between men and women in social, economic and political spheres have been well documented at the national level within and across societies. This, as argued by Sen and Nussbaum, has multi-dimensional and cross-sectorial impacts on the development of central human capabilities that are precursors for successful human development. The evolution of gender and development (GAD) in theory and practice lends insight to the growing appreciation of the social constructions of gender roles and how these can impact the social and economic development of communities and as an extension the efficacy of programs.
Violence witness, utilization & victimization have significant social, health, and economic cost and continues to hamper sustainable huamn development goals. The gendered reality of violence is that there are unique contextual considerations that impact on victims ability to access services and hold offenders accountable. In societies where civil war has been protracted or sexualized violence has been deployed re-attaining social cohesion in the post-conflict transformation process is complex; mainstreaming gender is a key priority.
There are a diverse number of measures on gender-based and sexual violence that range from indvidiaul and household violence to community and civil conflict as well as ethnic and interstate conflicts. The Task Force on the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 3 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment has pushed the agenda for wider data collection and further development of indicators to accurately measure sexual and gender-based violence.