Ending violence against women in Africa : issues paper 1
Author(s)/Corporate Author (s)United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa;
Asian Development Bank;
African Union Commission;
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Violence against women (VAW) is defined by the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (DEVAW) as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life1”. It is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women as manifested by current gender relations in Africa that are marked by socio-cultural norms of male domination over and discrimination against women. This continued domination and discrimination has prevented the full advancement of women and is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men2’. VAW is complex and diverse in its manifestations with far reaching and long-lasting consequences and costs, and impoverishes women, their families, communities and nations3. It is also a violation of the essential basic human right of an individual to safety, security and physical integrity.