Violence against women

Girls who have escaped Female Genital Mutilation at Churo school in Kenya
Girls who have escaped Female Genital Mutilation at Churo school in Kenya
Photo: ActionAid

1 in 3 women will be raped, assaulted, or physically or sexually abused in her lifetime.

Of all the human rights abuses affecting women globally, violence against women is one of the most widespread.

In Egypt, for example, 96% of women have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM).

In the UK, a 2009 study found that 1 in 3 girls between 13 and 17 had reported experiencing violence from a partner.

Violence and women's rights

Violence against women is a key barrier to women realising their rights. It robs women of choices and control over their lives. It impacts on every aspect of their lives, causing injury and death. 

Many women and girls living in poverty face violence everyday – in their homes,  communities, at school and/or in the workplace.

Violence can prevent girls from going to school and women from earning livelihoods or participating in their communities and wider society. Many women and girls live in fear.

It can be almost impossible for women and girls to defend themselves against violence because their voices are unheard. Very little support is available to them.

How to stop violence against women and girls

In 2012, ActionAid outlined four ingredients to eradicating gender-based violence against women and girls: 

  • Empowering women and girls
  • Changing the social norms that condone violence against women and girls
  • Building political will and legal and government capacity to prevent and respond to such violence
  • Providing comprehensive support services to survivors of such violence

You can read more about these principles in a Theory of Change for Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls. (Download the report summary)

ActionAid campaigns against violence

ActionAid is working with partners worldwide to tackle the causes and consequences of violence against women and girls. Together, we campaign for changes in the law and demand access to justice. We provide services for survivors of violence and support programmes for women’s empowerment.

Following the rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, the 23-year-old student who was raped and murdered on a Delhi bus a year ago, ActionAid is calling for urgent action to end violence against women and girls in India and around the world.