What do we mean by Violence Against Women and Girls?

Misogyny and Street Harassment

Misogyny is a form of sexism which involves a hatred or dislike of women and girls and/or the belief that men are much better than women

Street Harassment does not just occur in the street, and can occur in a number of different settings such public transport, pubs, clubs and other entertainment venues, workplaces and educational settings – it includes but is not limited to:

  • leering or unwanted staring
  • sitting or standing uncomfortably close to someone
  • making sexually explicit comments or gestures, including ‘wolf whistling’
  • asking unwanted questions about someone’s sex life
  • unwanted sexual attention or asking for sex, including repeated pressure to go on a date and/or have sex
  • ‘up-skirting’ or ‘down-blousing’ is taking pictures or filming up someone’s skirt or down their top without them knowing
  • flashing or exposing your genitals in public

groping is unwanted sexual touching anywhere on the body, which could be sexual assault

Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse can be perpetrated by an intimate partner or spouse or separated/ex-partners

Domestic Abuse can also be perpetrated by children, including adult children, towards their parents or other family members

Domestic Abuse includes but is not limited to one or more of the following types of abusive behaviours:

  • physical violence or abuse including threatening behaviour, hitting, kicking, biting, punching and non-fatal strangulation
  • sexual violence or abuse including sexual assault, coerced or forced sex
  • emotional or psychological abuse including ‘putting someone down’, playing ‘mind games’, making someone feel they’re to blame for everything or that they’re crazy – also known as ‘gaslighting
  • controlling or coercive behaviour including telling someone who they can see, what they can wear, etc.
  • economic or financial abuse including coerced or forced debt, controlling spending, access to bank accounts or benefit payments

‘cuckooing’ where a perpetrator takes over a victim’s home to facilitate abuse

Rape and Sexual Offences

Rape involves penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth with a penis without consent

Assault by penetration of the vagina or anus using anything other than a penis without consent

‘Stealthing’ is removing a condom during sex without the other person knowing

Choking, slapping or spitting on someone during sex without their consent

Getting someone to engage in sexual activity without their explicit or informed consent

Sexual assault is touching someone in a sexual way without consent such as kissing, ‘rubbing against’ or grabbing them

Voyeurism is secretly watching other people in sexual or other private acts to gain sexual pleasure, including ‘Up-skirting’ or ‘down-blousing’

Child Abuse and Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening – it includes but is not limited to:

  • rape or assault by penetration
  • non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and sexual touching outside of clothing
  • non-contact acts such as grooming a child or young person or involving children in looking at or in the production of sexual images, watching sexual activities or otherwise encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways – this can take place online or in person or a combination of both

Child Sexual Exploitation is a specific form of Child Sexual Abuse which occurs where the perpetrator holds some kind of power or control over the victim to coerce, manipulate or deceive them into sexual activity in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial or status gain of the perpetrator – even if the sexual activity appears consensual

Adult Sexual Exploitation

‘Survival Sex’ or ‘Sex for Rent’ is performing sexual activities in exchange for basic necessities, accommodation, food, drugs or alcohol

Forcing or coercing people into Sex Work – performing sexual activities in exchange for money

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking involves the recruitment, movement, harbouring or receiving people through the use of force, coercion, abuse, deception or other means for the purpose of exploitation

‘Cuckooing’ where a perpetrator takes over a victim’s home to facilitate exploitation

Online Sexual Offending

Making unwanted sexually explicit comments on social media

Sending unwanted sexual messages to someone

‘Cyber-flashing’ involves sending someone a sexually explicit picture that they haven’t asked for

Putting pressure on someone to send sexually explicit or nude pictures of themselves

‘Revenge porn’ involves posting or threatening to post sexually explicit images or videos of another person on the internet without their consent, typically by a former sexual partner

Illegal Cultural Harms

So-called ‘honour’-based violence or abuse is a diverse range of actions or practices used to control behaviour of individuals within families or communities to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs or ‘honour’ – it includes but is not limited to:

  • Domestic Abuse, including that perpetrated by other family members
  • Rape and Sexual Assault
  • Kidnap
  • Violence or threats of violence, including murder
  • Forced Marriage
  • Female Genital Mutilation

Forced marriage where one or more parties do not consent, are unable to consent or consent is obtained using duress, physical violence or threats of violence, or emotional blackmail – forced marriages are not the same as arranged marriages where the couple have the choice whether to accept the arrangement or not

Female Genital Mutilation (“FGM”) involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons – also known as ‘Female Circumcision’

Breast Ironing or Flattening involves ironing, massaging, flattening and/or pounding down young pubescent girls’ breasts over a period of time (sometimes years) in order for the breasts to disappear or delay the development of the breasts entirely

Stalking and Harassment

Stalking and Harassment in any form can be perpetrated by an ex-intimate partner, a stranger or anyone known to the victim

Stalking is a pattern of obsessive and unwanted behaviour which in isolation could appear trivial but cause their victim severe fear or anxiety – it includes but is not limited to:

  • watching or ‘spying’ on someone without their consent, including monitoring their online activity
  • following someone without their consent
  • turning up uninvited or loitering or hanging around someone’s home, education or workplace, etc
  • sending unwanted or malicious messages or other contact
  • sending or leaving unwanted presents or ‘gifts’
  • damaging or interfering with someone’s property
  • physical or sexual assault

‘Cyber-stalking’ uses the internet and other technologies to harass or stalk another person online

Harassment is any unwanted behaviour or contact which makes the victim feel distressed, humiliated or threatened