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Violence Glossary

In order to fully understand the depth, scope and viciousness of violence against women around the world, V-Day has compiled a glossary of the most common faces of violence. This is not a comprehensive list, but it will provide you with a sample of atrocities that women and girls endure simply because of their sex. The definitions we have provided come from various sources including the US Federal Government, many US state governments, the US Department of Justice, the United Nations, Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, the Geneva convention and UNICEF.

As you will see, the definitions of crimes against women are as varied in their language as they are in their places of origin. International laws, national laws and state laws are often superseded by local tradition, where many acts of aggression toward women go unreported.

While most laws in the United States prohibiting violence against women are at the state level, the Violence Against Women Act, enacted in the United States as part of the 1994 Crime Act, makes it a Federal crime to cross state lines to continue to abuse a spouse or partner. It also creates tough new penalties for sex offenders and prohibits anyone facing a restraining order for domestic abuse from possession of a firearm. You can view the entire law at the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, gives the specific laws adopted by the United Nations in 1948 on human rights.

To the left you’ll find descriptions of specific acts of violence against women that you can use as a starting point to check specific laws in your area.