When it Comes to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Words Matter

Paris, The Hague - A glossary shedding light on essential terminology related to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is released today by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). The 110-page publication, available in English, French, and Spanish (with Arabic and Farsi to follow shortly), is intended as an indispensable tool to inform and accompany the work of researchers, legal professionals, advocates, journalists, and others for whom understanding the relevant language is vital to their work of documenting, reporting, raising awareness of and litigating such violence, as well as supporting victims of SGBV.

@EnterYest (enteryes.com)

On the occasion of the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women and the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, FIDH is releasing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: A Glossary from A to Z to shed light on 61 essential terms related to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), the context in which such crimes are committed, and the standards that must be respected when engaging with survivors.

“While words can help give survivors of sexual and gender-based violence visibility, truth, and justice, they can also discriminate, re-victimise, and destroy. It is crucial to use the right words, in the right way, at the right time.“

Guissou Jahangiri, FIDH Vice-President and Director of OPEN ASIA/Armanshahr.

Sexual and gender-based violence affects millions of people around the world, women, girls, men, boys, and gender minorities. It is prevalent in times of peace and conflict, and is directly tied to the structural inequalities between genders, in particular the domination of men over women. Despite its widespread nature, very few victims receive the protection, recognition, or justice they need.

With this publication, FIDH aims to contribute to reducing the persistent under documentation, under-investigation, and under-prosecution of SGBV – a deficiency partly rooted in widespread misunderstanding of what SGBV is, the context in which it occurs, and how to interact with survivors. The glossary thus represents a practical handbook and starting point for those who document, litigate, raise awareness, or conduct advocacy on this issue, seeking to identify and clarify the key definitions practitioners working on SGBV should be well-acquainted with.

As more people strive to understand the nature, scope, and consequences of such violence it is important to recognise that words are powerful – from “consent,” “gender,” and “femicide” to “virginity testing” and “war crimes”. It is equally important to make sure that international standards – such as “do no harm” and “confidentiality” – are well understood and respected when engaging with SGBV survivors.

FIDH is hosting an online event today to launch the glossary, bringing together local and international experts on SGBV to discuss the challenges they have encountered in their work and how the glossary can contribute to addressing them. The seminar will take place from 3:00-4:30 PM (GMT+1). Register here: https://bit.ly/3lLhpeo.

Adriana Benjumea, Director of Corporación Humanas in Colombia
Alix Vuillemin Grendel, Senior Advocacy Adviser, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice
Annika Markovic, Ambassador of Sweden to the Netherlands, International Gender Champion in The Hague
Chris Dolan, Director of Refugee Law Project
Guissou Jahangiri, FIDH Vice President and Director of OPEN ASIA/Armanshahr
Patricia V. Sellers, Special Advisor for Gender for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
Paul van den Ijssel, Permanent representative of the Netherlands to the ICC and OPCW
Yosra Frawes, President of Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates and Head of FIDH’s MENA desk
Dorine Llanta, Programme Officer at the Permanent Representation of FIDH to the ICC

FormNative company (formnative.com)

Read more