Gender-Based Violence: Defining Terms - The Network

How We Use Terms


Gender-Based Violence (GBV) includes intimate partner violence, domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, and human sex trafficking. GBV is a widely-encompassing term that refers to any violence based on power and control inequities within relationships between people of any gender that stems from harmful gender norms and expectations.

Domestic Violence (DV) and Intimate partner violence (IPV) describe a pattern of harmful behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another within intimate partnerships. The types of harm that occur in relationships are not always physical; they can also be emotional, psychological, verbal, financial, economic, social, reproductive, institutional, and health-based. DV and IPV cover a wide array of relationships: romantic, familial, roommate, between personal care attendants and people with disabilities, caregiving, and formerly romantic.

We want to note: historically, early DV/IPV work narrowly focused on heterosexual, romantic relationships, typically viewing the male partner as the perpetrator of harm and the female partner as the survivor. We emphasize that anyone can be a survivor of DV/IPV regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation. We focus on better representing survivors of GBV across gender, racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual orientation groups.

Human Sex Trafficking refers to instances where a person is forced, defrauded, or coerced into participating in commercial sexual activity.

Sexual Violence refers to non-consensual sexual acts including, but not limited to sexual harassment, assault, abuse, exploitation, sharing explicit images without consent, or recording a sexual act without consent.

Stalking is an instance or pattern of behavior directed at someone that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Some examples of stalking behavior include repeated phone calls; following; unwanted gifts; damaging property; threats; and monitoring, either digitally or via physical systems, such as cameras and gps.

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