COFEM SVRI 2017 Paper & Video Series

Paper & Video 2

Reframing the language of ‘GBV’ away from feminist underpinnings


This paper outlines the way in which language that emerged as an expression of feminist theory and practice is increasingly being de-politicised with the effect of shifting attention away from, and undermining, the transformative agenda of VAWG and women’s rights work. Specifically, the paper examines how evolving definitions of gender-based violence (GBV) have shifted away from a specific focus on women and girls, and considers several problematic effects of this shift: lack of theoretical rigour; the struggle facing GBV actors to retain a focus on women and girls in their work; and the failure of other actors to meet their responsibilities to address violence affecting males, LGBTI groups broadly, and others. The paper concludes with a call for support to GBV actors in their efforts to ensure that the discourse and practice of GBV maintains a feminist-informed focus on women and girls, and that resources continue to be allocated to address the specific and pandemic GBV problem.