Who is affected by gender-based violence?
People of any gender can experience violence such as rape, sexual assault, intimate image abuse and coercive control and every survivor deserves to be supported when they experience such violence.
We refer to these forms of violence as gender-based because of the disproportionate rate at which women, girls and the trans community are affected and because the people perpetrating these forms of abuse are overwhelmingly men and boys.
A substantial body of both national and international research evidence tells us that gender is the greatest factor in determining a person’s likelihood of being subjected to gender-based violence. For example …
64% of girls (13-21) experienced sexual violence or sexual harassment at school or college in the last year
Girlguiding UK, 2017
One in ten women responding to a national Scottish sexual health survey said someone had had sex with them against their will, and one in five said someone had attempted to do so
Fuller et al., 2015
54% of girls surveyed by YWCA Scotland did not feel protected from sexual harassment in schools, with 26% feeling “extremely vulnerable”
Young Women Lead Committee, 2018
29% of girls aged 16-18 experienced unwanted sexual touching at school and a further 71% of 16–18-year-olds said they heard sexual name-calling such as “slut” or “slag” towards girls at school daily or a few times per week
75% of girls and young women said anxiety about potentially experiencing sexual harassment affects their lives in some way
Girlguiding UK, 2015
An ‘intersectional’ approach to understanding gender and violence
It is important to note that girls, young women and young trans people who are affected by more than one form of inequality or discrimination face increased risks of gender-based violence. The violence they face often combines multiple forms of discrimination – so for example gender-based violence experienced by Black or Minority Ethnic (BME) girls often combines racism and sexism. And violence targeted at disabled girls may include disablist abuse as well as sexism. These groups may also encounter additional barriers to accessing support, and additional impacts of violence. You can read evidence from research here.
This is called an ‘intersectional’ approach to understanding gender-based violence because it takes into account where violence and abuse happen at the intersection of more than one form of inequality or discrimination. You can find out more about intersectionality here.