Author: Ayush Malik
III Year | Amity University, Jaipur
Any kind of violence directed against a person because of gender is gender-based violence. In other words, when a gender faces some issue or violence far greater or disproportionately greater than the other, it is Sexual and Gender-Based Violence(SGBV).
Sexual violence includes violence such as rape, marital rape, etc. On the other hand, Gender-Based Violence includes crimes like child marriage, honour killings, trafficking for sex or slavery, physical punishment, and sexual, emotional or psychological violence.
Most basic gender-based violence includes violence against women or girls, LGBTQI community, domestic and sexual violence. Thus, gender-based violence is a broad concept.
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence as a Phenomenon:
This constitutes vide variety of breaches of fundamental rights, such as the right to liberty, equality, dignity and integrity. It is usually understood as violence against women, even though it means violence against men or women, based on gender. This is not only against women. It is prevalent against men and children too, but is much more prominent against women.
The start from insecurity and inequality rises through various discriminations based on sex, age, gender, class, caste, creed, birth, origin, orientation etc. and turns into violence based on all the above-mentioned factors.
Pervasiveness of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence:
The scope of violence isn’t limited, as it extends to certain areas or heights that we don’t consider. At least one in five women worldwide has faced some kind or other type of harassment in their life, be it is physical, mental, or psychological.
Teenagers suffer from harassment, child marriage and life-threatening violence like genital mutilation, forced prosecution. Adults face courtship violence, acid attacks, harassment at the workplace, marital rape, dowry murders, pornography, in-laws violence. Among senior citizens too, there are cases of forced suicide, even rapes, psychological abuse, stress for economic needs like property.
Global Statistics for SGBV Crimes:
- 1 in 3 women has experienced one or other kind of violence.
- 200 million women and girls have experienced genetic mutilation.
- 10-15 million children have experienced sexual harassment.
- 80-100 million girls are missing from the world population.
- 100 + million girls are raped every year and it is increasing ever since.
- 4000+ honour killings worldwide.
- 30% of females state their first sexual experience as forced.
- Male partners or their family members every day worldwide, kill 130+ women.
ICC as a Mechanism Against Violence:
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is one of the mechanisms of international criminal justice, established by The Rome statute of 1998. Its jurisdiction applies to 123 states that are parties under its founding treaty, but the United Nations can also consider making the ICC handle cases of non–party states.
The Rome statute is fundamental here as it provides a strong sense of human rights and their protection. The court has a policy of complementary participation, i.e. only when the state is incapable to handle a case on its own does the ICC take over.
The Office of The Prosecutor determines whether a case requires further processing. There are criteria and specific tests assigned to admit a case. If a national-level investigation is genuine and ongoing, ICC won’t interfere.
Provisions under ICC Statute:
Articles 6, 7 and 8 define genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes respectively. Additionally, Articles 7(1)(g), 8(2)(b)(22), 8(2)(e)(6) of The Rome Statute talk about sexual crimes. Further, rape is not just a crime against humanity but a war crime. Moreover, it is named as a continuous genocide preceding over the years.
Thus, the prevention of SGBV crimes has been an important and integral part of ICC focusing on the protection of witnesses and victims and a way to the proper execution of crimes by making various policies.
Some of the recommendations forming up on the international level for dealing with SGBV are:
- More states should join ICC.
- States should also generate laws and rules for SGBV.
- Judiciary of party-states and ICC should work complementarily and should not consider each other as rivals as both aim to provide justice and protect human rights.
- This is to be thought upon as an immediate effect and states and judiciary should further make improvements in their execution and work towards proper investigation and upliftment of all degraded, discriminated, beaten up or backward classes.
Gender-based violence has been breeding worldwide for a long time and it is high time to form some ways and strictness to eradicate or reduce violence based on gender. Some ways to tackle these issues are:
- Funding or promoting full women’s participation in civil society.
- Scale-up efforts to prevent SGBV from the root level.
- Support programs for people experiencing trauma.
- Spreading awareness of the need to come out and fight for rights and equality.
- Clinical facilities are to be provided at more than one level for better accessibility even to the remote areas and for people to come up and talk personally if not publicly.
What is gender-based violence?, European Commission, URL: https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/gender-equality/gender-based-violence/what-gender-based-violence_en
 See international covenant on Civil and political rights(ICCPR) art 2 and 6, convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women(CEDAW) URL: https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/57ee7f724.pdf&ved
 KPMG human and social services, Too costly to ignore, the economic impact of gender-based crimes in South Africa, International criminal court, Policy paper on sexual and gender-based crimes (June 2014), URL: www.icc-cpl.int/iccdocs/otp/OTP-policy-Paper-on-sexual-and-gender-based-crimes—June-2014.pdf
 Bharatiya Stree Shakti, Tackling Violence against women: A comparative study of state intervention measures. (A comparative study of impact of new laws, crime rate and reporting rate, change in awareness level), Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, 55, 4, March 2017, URL: https://wcd.nic.in/sites/default/files/Final%20Draft%20report%20BSS_0.pdf
Editor: Anusha Jabi