The WHO Defines Sexual Violence
In cases of sexual violence, the perpetrator has the power to make a woman or a man feel shame, humiliation, or guilt. The violent acts often involve force and aggressiveness, and the intention is to exert power over the victim. As a result, they are often very difficult to prove and are rarely the product of passion. As a result, the victims suffer the psychological and physical effects of their violence. Support is an essential part of the healing process.
There are several types of sexual violence, including gender-based attacks and rape. These attacks are often referred to as “corrective rapes” because they are carried out to conform an individual to heterosexuality or to accepted gender norms. Research has shown that the extent and type of violence may be influenced by certain factors, such as the victim’s race, class, religion, and gender. However, the exact causes of this violence are unknown.
Statistical data on sexual violence are not always available, and it is difficult to find reliable information. Those sources of information are heavily biased toward apprehended rapists. More recent studies have concentrated on male college students in the United States. Unfortunately, statistics don’t show the full picture of sexual violence, despite its widespread impact. It affects both men and women of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. Many studies, however, have shown that the perpetrators are most likely to choose victims they know and trust.
In some cases, the perpetrators of sexual violence use physical violence against their victims. However, this type of assault is often the first to occur. Those who resist abuse usually end up suffering psychological consequences that can be chronic. They may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. In some cases, the effects are long-term. A victim of sexual violence is more likely to engage in risky sexual activities and become pregnant as a result. These women are at higher risk of experiencing further sexual assault.
In order to track the prevalence of sexual violence and develop prevention and intervention strategies, a comprehensive definition is necessary. Currently, the WHO participates in UN Action, a consortium of 12 UN entities, which is a global network dedicated to eradicating sexual violence in conflict. By joining the initiative, WHO works with country teams and peacekeeping operations to develop evidence and advocate for the prevention and treatment of sexual violence. In addition to this, WHO also publishes safety guidelines for those who work in countries prone to violence.
Currently, there is no comprehensive definition of sexual violence, which makes the concept of the crime largely unknowable. Yet, the definition is a valuable tool for monitoring the prevalence of sexual violence, which allows researchers to compare it across various demographics and to measure risk factors uniformly. And because the crime of sexual violence is often committed by those who are not aware of it, the victim may not be aware that she is being attacked by others.