These definitions are conceptualized in an understanding of society as patriarchal, signifying unequal relations between men and women.Opponents of such definitions argue that the definitions disregard violence against men and that the term gender, as used in gender based violence, only refers to women.Some of the forms of violence perpetrated by individuals are: rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, reproductive coercion, female infanticide, prenatal sex selection, obstetric violence, and mob violence; as well as harmful customary or traditional practices such as honor killings, dowry violence, female genital mutilation, marriage by abduction and forced marriage.
violence occurring in the family or domestic unit, including, inter alia, physical and mental aggression, emotional and psychological abuse, rape and sexual abuse, incest, rape between spouses, regular or occasional partners and cohabitants, crimes committed in the name of honour, female genital and sexual mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, such as forced marriages;b.
violence occurring within the general community, including, inter alia, rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in institutions or elsewhere trafficking in women for the purposes of sexual exploitation and economic exploitation and sex tourism;d.
Acid throwing is also associated with these countries, as well as in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia.
Honor killing is associated with the Middle East and South Asia.
The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women states, "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women" and "violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men." Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions.
At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her.
violation of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict, in particular the taking of hostages, forced displacement, systematic rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy, and trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and economic exploitation.
These definitions of VAW as being gender-based are seen by some to be unsatisfactory and problematic.
Other critics argue that employing the term gender in this particular way may introduce notions of inferiority and subordination for femininity and superiority for masculinity.
There is no widely accepted current definition that covers all the dimensions of gender based violence rather than the one for women that tends to reproduce the concept of binary oppositions: masculinity versus femininity.
For instance, in Italy, before 1981, the Criminal Code provided for mitigating circumstances in case of a killing of a woman or her sexual partner for reasons related to honor, providing for a reduced sentence.