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Violence Against Women

Most Western countries - including our closest neighbour, Australia - use the term Violence Against Women in their documentation and system reform efforts.  In contrast, the New Zealand government takes a more gender-neutral approach,  and almost exclusively uses the terms Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

Violence Against Women is an umbrella term that describes a range of actions which harm or cause suffering and indignity to women and children. They include but are not limited to:

  • Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, within the general community or in institutions, including domestic abuse, rape, incest and child sexual abuse
  • Sexual harassment and intimidation at work and in the public sphere, commercial sexual exploitation including prostitution, pornography and trafficking
  • Dowry-related violence
  • Forced and child marriages
  • Honour crimes

The range of behaviours described above can be physical, but they also include emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, and behaviour which is coercive and controlling in nature.  We understand that these forms of violence and abuse are mostly done by men to women and are part of the inequality between women and men.

Violence and abuse is not limited to heterosexual situations.  LGBTIQ relationships can be affected and there are some unique features of abuse that have serious impacts for lesbian, bisexual, and trans women.  The Backbone Collective is for all women survivors of violence and abuse.

While we acknowledge that in some instances men are the victims of these forms of violence and abuse, our initiative is solely for women survivors. We know that when women are abused it affects their children, even if the children aren't being directly abused.