Ending gender-based violence

A woman who was supported by CARE’s gender-based violence project in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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An abuse of human rights

Gender-based violence is one of the most pervasive and yet least-recognised human rights abuses in the world:

  • One in every three women worldwide will suffer physical or sexual violence from a male partner, or sexual violence from a non-partner, during their lifetime.
  • 1 billion women will be victims of violence in their lifetime.
  • Between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
  • Gender-based violence kills and disables as many women aged 15-44 as cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined.
  • Even in stable contexts the most common form of violence that women face globally is domestic violence or violence from intimate partners.
  • Men can be victims too: amongst refugees coming into Uganda from the Democratic Republic of Congo, one in three victims of sexual violence are male.

This violence leaves survivors with long-term psychological and physical trauma; tears away at the social fabric of communities; and is used with terrifying effect in conflict settings, with women as the main target.

Responding to gender-based violence

Preventing and responding to gender-based violence is a crucial part of CARE’s commitment to promoting gender equality and ending poverty.

CARE responds to sexual violence by helping women to recover physically, psychologically and economically. We provide health support, counselling, and livelihoods support to help women start to rebuild their lives. We’ve done this in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Great Lakes Region (Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda), Somalia, and the Balkans. Read more about what CARE is doing in our report Challenging gender-based violence worldwide.

Last year, we helped more than 833,000 people with support services, prevention and awareness-raising on gender-based violence.

Changing attitudes

We don't stop at helping survivors of sexual violence. We aim to address – and change – the attitudes that make gender-based violence possible.

That means building the capacity of local organisations and communities to respond to gender-based violence in the local context. It means empowering women and girls through education, health and livelihoods opportunities. It means supporting women to speak up for their rights.

And crucially, it means engaging men and boys to break the cycle of violence.

Watch this music video by Yannick Sayam-Yan-Asnan, a member of the CARE community mobilisation team in Chad, an avid musician, and a male champion for ending the gender-based violence that harms millions of women and girls around the world: