How Sexual Violence Affects Survivors

Sexual violence is any kind of sexual activity or physical contact that happens without the victim’s consent. This type of violence can take many forms, including child sexual abuse, sex crimes, rape and other types of sexual assault. Sexual violence is never a victim’s fault and is almost always a crime of coercion – using force or threats to cause someone else harm.

Survivors of sexual violence often suffer from a number of physical, emotional and social impacts. In addition to the immediate concerns like abrasions, a risk of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, they may also face long-term problems such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. These issues can affect the survivor’s family, friends, work and school life.

One of the biggest problems survivors face is relearning how to trust. This can be difficult for anyone, but for a survivor who has experienced sexual violence, this is especially true. Survivors often feel that they can’t trust others, and this can impact their relationships and work. They may also struggle with feelings of anger, fear and guilt.

Another common problem is feeling powerless after a sexual assault. This can cause survivors to act out in harmful ways – such as self-harm, drug use and eating disorders. It can also lead to feelings of hopelessness and a lack of self-worth.

People who commit sexual violence often believe that they are not able to control their actions and that they have a right to use violence. These beliefs are rooted in a variety of factors, including how society perceives certain sexual behaviors, the way in which cultures see men’s and women’s roles, and individual beliefs about the sex of others. For example, men from more conservative cultures are more likely to view women’s nonsexual behaviors or platonic interests as sexual in nature and interpret these as a reason for violence against them.

Sexual assault can happen anywhere, anytime – on a bus, at school, in a restaurant, at the workplace and even during a party. Often, the perpetrator is someone known to the victim or their family. However, the perpetrator can also be a stranger. The perpetrator can be male or female, a man or woman of any age. Sexual violence can happen to anyone – regardless of race, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Prevention of sexual violence is everyone’s responsibility. Support community efforts to prevent sexual assault by teaching consent and boundaries in schools, learning about legislation that supports victims and holds perpetrators accountable and letting your representatives know you support it. Donate to your local advocacy center and volunteer to help survivors. Challenge images of violence against women in advertising, pornography and professional wrestling.

Many sexual assaults are preventable. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is stay in charge of your own body – listen to your instincts and don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t put yourself in situations where you’re a target and don’t drink and/or take drugs. Stay in a group of people you trust, especially at parties. If you are being raped, try to stay calm and resist the assault if possible by saying “NO” and running away, or by acting aggressively.

Victim Blaming

Victim blaming is the act of making a victim of abuse, crime or misfortune responsible for their experience. It can be found in any context, but is especially common when discussing sexual assault, rape and other forms of gender-based violence. This can be a tactic perpetrators use to silence survivors and keep them from reporting the crime, but it is also a common reaction of people who do not understand the impact of these crimes or have been conditioned to see victims as less than.

It can be difficult to recognise when you are victim blaming, as some people do not realise they are doing it until someone tells them they are. However, it is important to remember that any time you blame a survivor of violence for their experience, you are putting them at risk and taking away their power.

Some common examples of victim blaming are telling a survivor they should have known better, implying that their attacker was not fully to blame because of alcohol or drugs, or claiming that the attack could have been prevented by wearing different clothes. These excuses do not address the real reasons for an assault, such as a lack of respect for women or a desire to hurt and control them.

Blaming a victim can be especially harmful when it comes to survivors of sexual assault and other types of gender-based violence, who are often already isolated and stigmatised for their experience. Many survivors report being able to access support and safety only after they had disclosed to people that they had been abused. However, these disclosures were often followed by victim blaming attitudes, which can lead to further isolation and feelings of responsibility for the attack.

The reason why people are so quick to apportion blame to victims of crime is that it allows them to maintain their belief that the world is a just place and that people deserve what they get. This is adaptive because it helps us to make sense of the chaos around us, but it can be dangerous if it leads to a lack of empathy for those who experience injustice.

The best way to tackle victim blaming is to educate yourself on gender-based violence and its impact, as well as learning more about the root causes of sexual violence. You can start by speaking out against harmful comments on social media, re-framing conversations and sharing information about the impact of sexual violence. Additionally, you can work with your local rape crisis centre, domestic violence nonprofit, women’s organisation or police community outreach officers to arrange talks and townhall meetings for your community to raise awareness about victim blaming and how it is directly linked to a lack of empathy and understanding for gender-based violence. This can help to change how the public perceives the issue of VAW and empower people to stand up against it. This will require a level of honesty and empathy that people may not be used to, but the results will be worth it.

Barriers to Women in the Workplace

Women have been struggling for equal rights for centuries, and it seems like they’ve come a long way since the time where all women had to do was have babies and take care of the house. Today, we see that women are outnumbering men in graduate programs, and they make up the majority of business leaders. However, there is still a large gap between the number of male and female leaders in the workplace, which could be due to biases against women based on gender, race, sexual orientation, or disability. In order to close this leadership gap, it’s important for organizations to understand the different barriers that women face, and find ways to support them in the workforce.

One of the biggest barriers that women face is the inability to define what a woman is. Many people, especially transgender activists and self-styled “gender experts,” don’t seem to know the answer to this question. They use this lack of understanding to argue that there are only certain things that can be considered a woman, and that gender is a social construct.

However, this argument is flawed for a few reasons. First, it’s important to recognize that words often have multiple meanings. This is called polysemy, and it’s not uncommon for a word to have several definitions that are closely related. For example, the word “hands” can mean hands as a body part or hands as something used for manual labor. In fact, the term hands is so common that it’s in the dictionary under both definitions.

The word “woman” has a similar history. It originally referred to a specific type of animal (ewe), and later became a generic term for an adult human female. In most cases, the term has a neutral or positive connotation, and it is commonly used in contrast to male. It is also used to describe animals, and it has a neutral or negative connotation in those contexts as well: 104 female sheep for every 100 male sheep; the chief hunter of a lion pride.

In addition to this, the definition of woman has changed over time, with new senses emerging such as “woman as wife” and “woman as embodiment of femininity.” There have also been many pejorative senses of the word, including strumpet, wench, and minx.

These issues should be discussed openly with empathy and science, not turned into a fight over who can or cannot be a woman. We all deserve to have a place in the world, and we can’t do that if we don’t agree on what a woman is. Thankfully, the answer is simple: a woman is an adult human female. So what are you waiting for, trannies? Go deliver some babies, nurture them, nuture yourself, have a vagina and uterus, bleed every month, go through puberty, menopause, raise some grandbabies – then you might be a true woman! And don’t forget to wash those hands.

Upholding Women’s Rights is Everyone’s Responsibility

Until every person enjoys the same rights no matter their sex, gender or race, the world will not be truly free. Upholding women’s rights is everyone’s responsibility.

Throughout history, some myths and religions presented women as less intelligent or a source of evil, so men often ruled them. Even after women were given some freedom, they still struggled with discrimination in many areas of life. Some women, however, were able to become leaders. For example, Queen Elizabeth ruled England for 45 years in the 1500s, and Catherine the Great was empress of Russia in the 1700s. Other women were able to make significant contributions in business, science and the arts. Yet, despite their tremendous accomplishments, most women have not been equal to men in terms of legal rights.

Seven generations have been witness to enormous changes for women – in family life, in religion, in the workplace, and in politics and government. These dramatic improvements have not happened by accident or miracle – they were the result of deliberate, determined action. Thousands of women have worked to affect these changes, and they should be remembered for their heroic work.

The story of women’s activism is a drama filled with courageous visionaries who refused to give up. It’s a story of ingenious strategies, capable organizers and administrators, and activists who used public speaking, petition drives, lobbying, and nonviolent resistance to achieve their goals. These women’s names and achievements should be as familiar to Americans as the names of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the United States, the movement to guarantee women’s rights was a grassroots effort that began in 1848. The first women’s rights convention was held in the small town of Seneca Falls, New York. The participants included Lucretia Mott, a Quaker preacher and social activist; Martha Wright, a teacher and journalist; Mary Ann McClintock, the leader of an Illinois state union for working women; and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a lawyer and founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association.

Most people believe that women and girls should have the same rights as men. In fact, across 34 countries surveyed by Pew Research Center, a median of 94% say it is very important for women to have the same rights as men in their country. This includes majorities in Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Australia, as well as nearly all surveyed Latin American nations.

Most people also think that the new Sustainable Development Goals will help further advance women’s rights, including reducing discrimination against women and girls. But to achieve these goals, governments and societies must commit to the women’s rights agenda – and make sure they follow through with their promises. The women’s rights movement cannot rest until all women enjoy the same opportunities and rights as men, regardless of their sex, race or religion. They need to make the case that equality is a fundamental human right and it’s everyone’s responsibility. Investing in the solutions of grass-roots women’s organizations will be essential to this effort.

Ending Gender Inequality

gender inequality

Despite important progress, substantial gender inequality remains worldwide in areas such as education, labor force participation, wages and leadership positions. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, girls faced gender discrimination in their access to schools and had to shoulder more household responsibilities — thus increasing their risk of early marriage and pregnancy — than boys (see figure below). The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated pre-existing gender disparities by keeping many women from going to work and taking time off to care for sick children. This was especially true in countries with high levels of conflict and poverty.

One reason why it can be hard to measure progress in reducing gaps between men and women is that different dimensions of inequality have different causes. For example, a gap in pay is caused both by discrimination and by factors such as differences in skills and the choice to pursue higher-paying jobs. The latter is a social norm rather than a result of direct discrimination, but it can still lead to large gaps.

Closing the remaining gaps will be more challenging than closing earlier ones. It may be harder to distinguish preferences/comparative advantages from gender bias and cultural barriers; it may take longer to change people’s minds; and it is likely that policies will have to tackle both the root causes and the symptoms (e.g., legal reforms to remove barriers and educational programs and information campaigns).

The economic costs of persistent gender inequality are high. They are borne by individuals and families, society as a whole and the global economy. The most significant cost is the loss of human potential, particularly that of women. Gender equality would reduce these losses and increase overall economic growth, financial stability and income inequality.

Moreover, it is widely recognized that gender inequality undermines development, which itself has a direct impact on health and well-being. The most serious health problems facing the world today, such as maternal mortality, unintended pregnancy, child malnutrition and infectious diseases, are closely linked to gender inequality – and can be overcome only by addressing the underlying social norms that perpetuate them.

It’s time to make a commitment to end these inequalities. This includes tackling everyday biases that contribute to them – from making sure all household chores are equally divided to fighting gender stereotypes. It also means ensuring that every person, including women and girls, is given equal opportunity to learn, earn and lead – no matter their sex or sexual identity.

It’s crucial to understand that a woman-friendly economic policy can be an effective poverty reduction strategy. We can start by reducing the obstacles in people’s path and helping them build skills to become self-sufficient. We can then help them access the capital they need to start or grow a business. We can help them build savings and secure credit, and provide safe and affordable childcare and family-friendly working conditions. All these measures will ultimately help to create a world in which women and men have equal opportunities for success, prosperity and happiness.

How to Deal With Sexual Violence

sexual violence

Sexual violence is any unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature that makes someone feel upset or scared. It can take lots of different forms and includes things like sexual assault, stalking and voyeurism. It can happen to people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, sexualities, faiths and ethnicities. It affects women and girls more than men and boys but it can also be experienced by anyone, regardless of their gender.

Often victims and survivors find it hard to talk about what happened, especially in the first instance. They may have feelings of guilt, shame, fear, disbelief and anger. They might not believe the assault/abuse actually took place or that they did something to deserve it, particularly when it was perpetrated by someone they know. This can be especially true of men and boys who may think they deserved it because they weren’t fighting back or that they didn’t try to stop it.

In many cases the assault/abuse is carried out by someone known to the survivor – such as an acquaintance, friend or ex-partner. It can also be perpetrated by people that the survivor trusted or considered to be a caretaker (like parents, teachers or babysitters) or even their own family. It’s also very common for survivors to have dissociation during the abuse and some do not remember what actually happened.

For many survivors, their experience of sexual assault/abuse is shaped by the culture they live in. This is because sex and abuse are still taboo in some societies, with victims not being believed or supported by the wider community. This can have a huge impact on the survivor and how they experience the event(s).

When talking to a victim/survivor about their sexual assault, it’s important to be empathetic and understanding of how they might be feeling. You should never put pressure on them to talk about it or to tell you everything that happened, as everyone reacts differently and at their own pace. If they do decide to share, don’t push them for details as this can be very triggering and it’s important that they feel comfortable sharing.

After the sexual assault, it’s likely that the survivor will experience some form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can include a wide range of symptoms including:

When you are supporting a victim/survivor, it is essential that you listen in a non-judgmental way. It is also important that you don’t ask them about the details of their assault/abuse as this can be incredibly difficult and distressing. They will most likely not be able to tell you everything that happened, and this is completely normal. You might find that they have difficulty in their relationships and in their sexuality and they might develop a distrust of others, or start having flashbacks. They might develop eating issues or experience problems sleeping. There is also a risk that they might have feelings of suspicion or paranoia, and may become fearful of certain characteristics in strangers such as side-burns, straight hair or the type of car their attacker drives. They might have suicidal thoughts or violent fantasies.

Recognizing Victim Blaming in Our Own Thoughts

victim blaming

When it comes to sexual assault and other forms of victimization, we are often able to recognize victim blaming when we hear it in others’ words. But what about when it’s our own thoughts? It is easy to fall into the trap of victim blaming, particularly when we are insensitive or ill-informed about the situation.

Victim blaming refers to any type of response that blames a survivor of a crime or misfortune for their own experiences, whether it’s telling them they deserve the abuse or that they could have prevented the attack by doing something differently. Victim blaming can take many forms and can be directed towards people of any race, age, religion, or background. The motivations behind it vary, but typically involve the desire to maintain a sense of control over one’s environment and a belief that bad things only happen to bad people.

Survivors are constantly bombarded with messages from society, the media, and family and friends that place responsibility for their experiences on them. This can be overwhelming and leads to feelings of shame, guilt, anger, and depression. Victim blaming also interferes with the healing process by disabling a survivor’s ability to acknowledge and accept their own victimization.

There are a number of factors that contribute to victim blaming, but one is the fundamental attribution error. This is the tendency to attribute someone else’s actions to their internal, personal characteristics rather than to external, environmental factors.

Another factor is the belief in a just world. People want to believe that their own and other people’s behaviour is rewarded or punished fairly, which gives them the comfort of knowing that the world around them is stable and orderly. This belief is so ingrained in our culture that it can even prevent us from acknowledging when injustice has occurred, especially if it comes from someone we know and trust.

The last major contributor to victim blaming is the desire to avoid uncomfortable emotions. This may be why we find it so hard to respond positively when a person tells us about a traumatic experience. For example, if a friend tells us about being verbally assaulted by a coworker, our instinct is to question their story or tell them how they could have avoided the situation. But these comments can come across as insensitive and may lead to further feelings of shame and guilt.

When a victim discloses to you that they’ve experienced violence, the best thing you can do is listen and believe them. Avoid asking questions that can be perceived as insensitive or blaming, and don’t use violent rhetoric (e.g. “I bet he’d do it again”). If you can, try to focus on moving forward and providing support. This will help to reduce feelings of post-trauma stress, depression, and health issues. If you are struggling to deal with a traumatic experience, seeking professional help is always recommended. Tasha Rube is a Licensed Social Worker with the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth, Kansas.

How to Define a Woman


Women are the backbone of every family as they take charge of all household chores, cooking, washing etc. They have a strong capacity to provide care to children, elderly members and sick people in the house. They also play a vital role in the economic development of the family. Women work as home makers, teachers, nurses, doctors, business women, social workers and are also at the forefront of various developmental initiatives in the society. They work to improve the quality of life of the community, by helping in the fields of handicraft and cottage industries. They also provide information about health issues and nutrition to the families and children. They also raise their voice against women violence, exploitation in households as well as at the workplace, dowry prohibition superstition and other social atrocities. Women are also an important part of a company’s workforce and a diverse female workforce enhances productivity and innovation. Studies show that companies with women in top leadership positions perform better than those that have mostly men.

Gender is a complicated concept and defining a woman can be difficult, even for those who are female or who identify as female. Gender can be determined by many different things: external rules, laws and society; body parts (such as the uterus and genitals); biology and sexuality; and, perhaps most importantly, a person’s own sense of their own gender.

In this era of gender equality and the emergence of non-binary identities, the definition of a woman can seem to change frequently. In some cases, the definition of a woman is debated and contested by individuals of all types of identities. Some of these individuals are willing to challenge traditional gender roles while others simply want to have a more fluid definition of gender and womanhood that does not rely on external factors.

Many of the stereotypes associated with being a woman are outdated and harmful. When writing a character, it is important to avoid these stereotypes and instead write a more realistic portrayal of what being a woman actually means in the current day.

One thing that can help to define a woman is to look at her life goals and ambitions, which can help to determine what kind of woman she is. A woman can be many different things, but she should always remain true to herself and her values.

Another way that a woman can be defined is by her philosophy, or the principles she lives by. This can include everything from her personal beliefs and morals to the way she approaches relationships. A strong and confident woman can be a force to be reckoned with, both professionally and personally.

Women can be powerful and inspirational, whether they are breaking gender stereotypes in sports like tennis superstar Billie Jean King or changing the world with their research and leadership skills. Gender should not be a limitation, and women should be allowed to pursue their passions without being held back by the confines of their own sex.

Women’s Rights and International Development

women rights

The women’s rights movement has pushed back against a system of patriarchal social norms and laws that have given men disproportionate power over women and children. This system of gender inequality has resulted in lower economic participation, increased risks of violence and illness, and less political representation for women. Empowering women can bring greater prosperity to families, communities and countries, and it is critical for the success of a wide range of international development goals.

Most Americans say that while the country has made progress toward granting women equal rights with men, there is still much work to be done. Democratic women and those who lean to the left are more likely than Republican men and those who lean to the right to say this (72% of Democratic women vs. 57% of Republican men). Among those who say more work remains, they are more likely to name issues specific to women’s economic status. They are more likely to mention equal pay, more job opportunities for women and fewer restrictions on women working outside the home, as well as no discrimination in hiring or promotion and better paid parental and maternity leave.

In most countries surveyed, large majorities of people say it is very important for women and men to have the same rights in their society. The share of adults who say this is very important, or somewhat important, is highest in Sweden (98%), the Netherlands (86%), France (81%), Germany (81%) and the U.S. (74%).

Women are also more likely to say they have experienced discrimination or abuse because of their gender than men. They are more likely to be victims of sexual assault, be at risk for exploitation in human trafficking and be displaced by war or disaster. In some cases, these experiences may have caused them to lose confidence in their government’s ability to protect their rights.

The vast majority of people across demographic and partisan lines support a global agenda to advance women’s rights. They want to see governments sign and implement the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW, which requires them to end gender discrimination and affirm women’s right to family planning, health care and education. They also support the Beijing Platform for Action, which follows CEDAW with a series of specific commitments to make gender equality a reality in every facet of life.

Some of the biggest challenges remain in low-income countries where harmful traditions, like child marriage and female genital mutilation, continue to trap girls into lives of poverty, and in high-income countries where women get paid less for the same jobs and suffer from misogynistic attitudes and policies. These barriers can be overcome by implementing policies that help women reach their full potential, including reducing the number of boys and girls who do not complete primary school and making it possible for them to access affordable birth control. All these efforts will contribute to a world in which women can fully participate as equal partners with men in building a better future for all.

Gender Inequality and Development

gender inequality

Gender inequality, based on the social, cultural or legal differences between men and women in access to rights, opportunities, income, leadership and power, is one of the world’s most stubborn and long-lasting forms of injustice. It has been a major focus of efforts by governments, international organizations and NGOs, as well as by individuals and communities around the world.

Gender is a fundamental part of who we are, and the gender dimension of development addresses not only the needs and rights of men and women but also their interrelationships with each other. Using a gender perspective in policy and programming can help increase equality, reduce poverty, promote economic growth and improve human well-being.

There are many causes of gender inequality. It is often linked to social and cultural attitudes and beliefs about gender, such as sexism and stereotyping. Those views can affect how children are raised and what kind of jobs they get, as well as what kind of men and women they become. Those beliefs can also make it hard to change, even when there are laws and policies that support equal treatment or a change in mindset.

Although important progress has been made on many fronts, gender inequality remains intractable in many countries, with a persistent gender gap in literacy, enrolment in secondary and tertiary education, earnings, labour force participation, land ownership, leadership positions and health outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing disparities, especially in low- and middle-income countries, where women faced increased burdens of caregiving during the outbreak.

Despite these challenges, a number of indicators suggest that global gender inequality may be slowly declining. One key indicator is the “gender pay gap,” which combines earnings for men and women by country and divides the result by the ratio of men’s wages to female wages. The data for this chart comes from the International Labour Organization and is updated annually. The chart allows you to compare the data for individual countries by clicking on the “Change Country” button.

Another measure of equality is the share of the top 1% of earners who are women, as shown in this chart. While there is some variation from country to country, the trend over time has been steady: In 1960, almost every third income-earner in the world was a man; today it is only every fifth or sixth.

The decline in gender inequality is likely due to both exogenous pressures from the global community and internal processes within nations, including rapid economic development and modernization. However, uneven population growth is a potential obstacle to this trend; if the rate of decline in less-developed nations slows, that can raise overall levels of inequality. The next step is to continue to build momentum to accelerate the pace of progress, and redouble efforts in the face of setbacks and delays. It will be a challenging, but worthwhile, effort for the sake of all our futures. This article is being published by the Gender Inequality Initiative, a joint project of the UN Foundation and the Overseas Development Institute.