Women's Center

What Is Gender Violence?

Gender violence includes rape, sexual assault, relationship violence in heterosexual and same sex partnerships, sexual harassment, stalking, prostitution and sex trafficking. The term "gender violence" reflects the idea that violence often serves to maintain structural gender inequalities, and includes all types of violence against women, children and adolescents, and lesbian and gay people. This type of violence in some way influences or is influenced by gender relations. To adequately address this violence, we have to address cultural issues that encourage violence as part of masculinity.

Gender is also the most powerful predictor of rape, sexual assault and relationship violence. These crimes are predominantly against women and perpetrated by men. According to the National Violence Against Women Survey (1998), 15% of women will be the victim of a completed rape in their lifetimes and 2.1% of men. According to the Department of Justice, 99% of all people arrested for rape are men. While some men are rape victims, men are almost always the perpetrator. That is not to say that all or even most men are violent, or that women cannot perpetrate such violence. Gender violence highlights a male-patterned violence: a prevalent violence committed most often but not always by men, often motivated by aggression, revenge, competition, and entitlement, and includes sexual and other violence against women, partners and children.