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Ending Gender Based Violence and Harmful Practices

UNFPA focuses on addressing gender-based violence (GBV), harmful social and cultural practices such as child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) that abruptly end the childhood of girls. The 2016 Uganda Health and Demographic Survey (UDHS), shows that 49% of women between age 20 and 24 years, were married before their 18th birthday, and 12% before their 15th birthday. More than 1 in 5 women aged 15-49 have experienced sexual violence at some point in their life compared to men, with less than 1 in 10 (UDHS, 2016).

GBV hinders women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of reproductive health rights. Victims of sexual violence may need emergency contraceptive pills for any unintended pregnancies; treatment for sexually transmitted infections including HIV; medical attention for other injuries including mental and psychological trauma.

Social norms in the communities that favor negative male masculinities also need to be challenged. The negative social norms often accept violence such as wife battering, child marriage, FGM, and in some cases rape as normal societal occurrences. UNFPA believes that all women and girls have the right to lead vibrant, dynamic lives where they can be bold in the pursuit of their aspirations. We work to prevent and respond to gender-based violence through work with policymakers, health systems, justice systems, social systems and humanitarian partners. UNFPA also focuses on eliminating harmful practices, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, and helps to engage men and boys to advance gender equality, and support survivors of GBV in humanitarian crises, where violence against women often escalates.

Health services are among the first places survivors of violence seek assistance. UNFPA works with Ministry of Gender and Ministry of Health to improve coordination of sexual reproductive health (SRH) and GBV integration at national and lower levels; build capacity of health workers to screen and manage GBV cases, including sexual violence. We support efforts to improve the policy environment for elimination of GBV and harmful practices, and delivery of integrated GBV and sexual and reproductive health care. As the lead UN data agency working on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, UNFPA works to ensure that data systems capture SRHR and GBV indicators, planning and decision-making processes are evidence-based.