Special Rapporteur on VAW: Multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination


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UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences

Thematic Report

Over the past three decades, gender-based violence as a form of discrimination against women has become increasingly visible and acknowledged internationally. Despite normative standards having been set, the reality is that violence against women remains a global epidemic, which is further complicated when considering multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. This thematic report examines such discrimination in the context of violence against women and provides a conceptual framework for further discussion. The report acknowledges the reality that while multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination have contributed to and exacerbated violence against women, information on the intersections between gender-based discrimination and other forms of discrimination, and the consequences thereof, are too often overlooked.

In addition to analyzing the forms, causes and consequences of multiple forms of discrimination as regards violence against women, this report also considers inter-gender and intra-gender differences, arguing that a one-size-fits-all programmatic approach is insufficient for combating gender-based violence. Even though all women are at risk of experiencing violence, not all women are equally susceptible to acts of violence.

It has been stated by this mandate that “the multiplicity of forms of violence against women as well as the fact that this violence frequently occurs at the intersection of different types of discrimination makes the adoption of multifaceted strategies to effectively prevent and combat this violence a necessity.”

This report proposes a holistic approach to conceptualizing and addressing the issue by: (a) considering human rights as universal, interdependent and indivisible; (b) situating violence against women on a continuum; (c) acknowledging the structural aspects and factors of discrimination, which include structural and institutional inequalities; and (d) analyzing social and/or economic hierarchies between women and men and also among women.

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