Sunday 12 April 2009

Literature on Gender-Based Violence

These days I have been
--> going through heaps of publications on violence against women (VAW), many of which you'll find via the Siyanda portal. A few highlights:

Researching Violence against Women – a Practical Guide for Researchers and Activists
by Mary Ellsberg and Lori Heise (2005), produced by WHO and PATH, seems indeed highly practical. I put a link here - attention, it'll take you to a massive PDF file that brings the whole book! It starts with definitions, basic facts and statistics on VAW, to then present the steps of research on VAW, such as ethical considerations, developing a research strategy, tools for measuring violence, building a research team (!), data collection and analysis. The book is well-structured, full of helpful checklists, charts and illustrations - a hands-on guideline for designing and conducting surveys. Its annex includes a collection of web-based resources.

Even less recent but still nice and eminently readable: The Swedish International Cooperation Agency (SIDA) distributes a research report titled Ending Gender-Based Violence: A Call for Global Action to Involve Men (2004).

For those who are interested in using international law to hold their governments accountable: the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on VAW has just completed its 15th year. You will find plenty of resources under "Violence against Women" on UN Women Watch. The principle of due diligence makes it possible for women’s rights advocates to hold states accountable: Under international law, a State may be responsible for acts of violence against women committed by non-state actors if it fails with due diligence to prevent, stop and investigate acts of violence, punish perpetrators and provide compensation to the victims, as specified in General Recommendation 19 (1992) of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The legal concept of due diligence clarifies the responsibility of States to make women’s rights a reality. This responsibility is enshrined within the established requirement of exercising due diligence to respect, protect, fulfil and promote human rights.

Exercising due diligence includes actions with respect to prevention, investigation of violations of human rights that have occurred and prosecution of perpetrators through fair proceedings. It also requires that adequate reparations be made to victims, including compensation, justice and rehabilitation. (From the 2005 Report on Good Practices in Combating and Eliminating VAW, UN Division for the Advancement of Women.

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