The United Nations defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life." (UN, 1993)

In other words, violence can mean many things. It can be physical, psychological, sexual or economic. It occurs whenever one person causes another person suffering, hurt or pain. Violence against women is grounded in gender inequality, discrimination against women and harmful ideas of masculinities. It occurs in every country and affects women regardless of ethnicity, income or religion.



Ending Violence against Women requires fundamental and long-term changes at all levels, including individuals, families, communities, and nations, that address the root causes of gender discrimination and equality. Everyone has a role to play whether it is through speaking up about violence, raising awareness or advocating for change at any level. Here are some things that you can do:

  1. If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused, listen to and support her.
  2. Believe women when they tell you they’ve been raped or abused. Don’t ask about their behavior and what they were wearing. Listen to what they say without judging them. Women never ask for nor deserve to be raped or abused
  1. Teach boys and young men how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Lead by example.
  2. Make your home violence-free. Children who have witnessed or suffered from gender-based violence are more likely to become victims and abusers later in life.
  3. Talk to your family and community members about how violence and fear of violence affect the daily lives of women and girls. Talk about how you can support each other to help end violence.


Of more than 10,000 men surveyed across six countries in Asia and the Pacific,

Click here to find out more about why some men use violence against women.



Launched in 2008, the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign aims to raise public awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.

The global vision of the UNiTE campaign is a world free from violence against all women and girls. This vision can only be realized through meaningful actions and ongoing political commitments of national governments, backed by adequate resources. The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign

calls on all governments, civil society, women’s organizations, men, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing this global pandemic.

Through its advocacy initiatives at the global, regional and national levels, the UNiTE campaign is working to mobilize individuals and communities. In addition to supporting the longstanding efforts of women’s and civil society organizations, the campaign is actively engaging with men, young people, celebrities, artists, sports personalities, private sector and many more.