Feminism and male violence against women and girls, including prostitution and trafficking in human beings

“Violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men”. (United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993).

Male violence against women and girls is endemic globally, and “violates the rights of women and girls, limits their participation in society, and damages their health and well-being” (WHO, 2013). Perpetrators use violence to control women and girls in the private and in the public spheres, during periods of armed conflict, transition and relative peace. Discriminatory social, traditional, religious and cultural attitudes towards women reinforce men’s power over women and girls and result in toleration of violence. Eliminating these attitudes is key to end male violence. The conditions under which women and girls live must be ameliorated through positive measures that focus specifically on the needs and aspirations of all women and girls.

Prostitution and human trafficking are crimes, serious human rights violations, and contrary to the dignity and integrity of women and girls that must and will be abolished. The legalization and industrialization of prostitution activities normalizes an extreme form of sexual discrimination and violence, and strengthens male domination over all women and girls – individually and systemically. Without men’s assumption that they have the right to demand, buy and sexually exploit women and girls, prostitution and human trafficking would not exist.

The Institute for Feminism & Human Rights (IF&HR) works to end all forms of male violence against women and their root causes. IF&HR works to change the understanding of women’s and girls’ experiences and realities of male violence while actively promoting legal and other actions to ensure the accountability of perpetrators.