Language Guide: Gender Based Violence

External Resource

01/07/2022 12:00 am

Engender Health

“Gender-based violence (GBV) is a major public health issue with devastating impacts on individuals and communities. Supporting our vision of a gender-equal world, we aim to use language that is accurate, nonjudgmental, destigmatizing, and inclusive when discussing GBV. Learn more in our new GBV language guide, available in English and French.”


Gender-based violence (GBV) undermines the autonomy, dignity, health (mental and physical), and security of its victims; it also has devastating social and economic effects on communities and is a major public health problem and impediment to gender equality. Sexual violence, one form of GBV, can result in serious sexual and reproductive health consequences, such as unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), and traumatic fistula (UNFPA 2021). Women, girls, young people, and other marginalized individuals are particularly vulnerable—indeed, one in three women globally will experience GBV during their lifetimes (World Bank 2019). Thus, EngenderHealth works to strengthen response mechanisms for sexual violence in clinical settings and to prevent all forms of violence at the community level, as part of our commitment to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality. Supporting our vision of a gender-equal world where all people achieve their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and reflecting our overarching Principles of Language Use—all EngenderHealth language related to GBV should be (1) current and technically accurate, (2) consciously nonjudgmental and destigmatizing, and (3) deliberately and explicitly inclusive of the diversity of our partners and impact populations.

Read the full guide in English here, and in French here

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