Activism 101: 16 Consequences of Violence Against Women

Suloshini Jahanath, long-time Pixel Project volunteer, Twitter Tag Team Coordinator and a member of the team at  The Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW) contributes today’s 16 for 16 list – 16 consequences of Violence Against Women (VAW)

This is by no means a comprehensive list but it’s a great starting point for anyone who is new to the cause or to activists who need a short but digestible list to help with awareness-raising, advocacy and educational efforts in preventing VAW.

So get reading and get moving on taking action.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

Note: Some of the information below may be triggering.

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Do you know what happens when a woman is abused? It doesn’t just affect her, but those around her as well. Violence against women has a rippling effect that can go on for years and affect the generations to come.

Violence against women is defined as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life”.[1]

It encompasses, but is not limited to, “physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring  in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, nonspousal violence and violence related to exploitation; physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring  within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere; trafficking in women and forced prostitution; and physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the state, wherever it occurs.”[2]

When a woman is exposed to these forms of violence, there are consequences to her physical, mental, emotional well-being, and these lead to impacting any children she might have, as well as social and economic costs.

Here are 16 consequences of Violence Against Women of women, families and communities:

Health Consequences

Consequence 1: Headaches, back pain,  abdominal pain

Consequence 2: Gastrointestinal disorders,

Consequence 3: Limited mobility and poor overall health (sometimes, these can have fatal results)

Consequence 4: Intimate partner and sexual violence can lead to unintended pregnancies and other gynecological problems.

Consequence 5: Sexually transmitted diseases and infections (including but not limited to HIV/AIDS)

Consequence 6: Violence against a pregnant woman increases the chances of miscarriage, stillbirth and pre-term delivery.

These forms of violence can lead to:

Consequence 7: Clinical depression

Consequence 8: Emotional distress

Consequence 9: Insomnia or similar sleep disorders

Consequence 10: Post-traumatic stress disorder

Consequence 11: Eating disorders

Consequence 12: Suicide attempts.

Consequence 13: Sexual violence can lead to:

  •  Increased misuse of alcohol and drugs, as well as smoking.
  • Risky sexual behaviours for a child in later years.
  • Perpetration of violence (for males) and being a victim of violence (for females).

The Impact on Children

Consequence 14: Children who grow up in families where they are exposed to intimate partner violence can suffer from a range of behavioral and emotional disturbances, which can lead to perpetrating or being victims of violence later in life.

Consequence 15: Intimate partner violence can also be associated with increased rates of infant and child mortality and morbidity

Social and economic costs

Consequence 16: Women can suffer:

  • A limited ability to take care of themselves or their children
  • An inability to work and to sustain wages
  • From isolation, which leads to a lack of participation in usual/regular activities

Violence against women is not an answer. It is a problem, one that is increasingly on the rise. Just because it isn’t happening to you doesn’t mean it isn’t happening to someone else – and she is somebody’s mother, somebody’s sister, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s wife, somebody’s girlfriend, somebody’s friend. So let’s spread the word and do something about it.

Some further reading and resources about the consequences of Violence Against Women:


[1] Declaration on the elimination of violence against women. New York, United Nations, 23 February 1994

(Resolution No. A/RES/48/104)

[2] Declaration on the elimination of violence against women. New York, United Nations, 23 February 1994

(Resolution No. A/RES/48/104)

2 thoughts on “Activism 101: 16 Consequences of Violence Against Women

  1. I am a survivor of domestic violence. However, I am often reminded of my abuser from my son with his autism meltdowns, the bad building I live in with other domestic assaults, verbal abuse, gang violence, drugs, rapes goin on around me not to mention that “he” gets out of prison every year to violate our Order for Protection. And I am not his first or last victim. So there is constant reminders. I was pregnant with twins and homeless, working fulltime during one of my bad beatings. Where he stalked and harrassed me after work into a public place and attacked me while crowds of people stood there and watched. I ended up having to walk in the rain to the ER because the police got side track with the ambulance call off cuz they were more concerned about the publicity to the establishment/arresst they made from an undercover officer who had “saved” me. one twin miscarried from those blows. I had to go out of town for safety and recovery for a few days after I got out of the hospital. And those images never leave my head. I have traumatic brain injury now.And how come I remember almost ever bad thing he said or did to me. Both me and my son have PTSD from it so to be around certain things and places, can really set us off. Constant living in fear but I cant tell him that. I am suppose to be strong. I am lucky to have “made” it thru somewhat, but not for it to keep linger on. It is alot of healing, pain, struggles and sacrifices that we have gone thru or made because of what one person did. And now when others do the same or dont understand it is just beating of a drum that wont stop.

  2. Pingback: Do you know what happens when a woman is abused? | mychoices.asia

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