Preventing and responding to all forms of gender-based violence is a cornerstone of the U.S. government’s commitment to promoting democracy, advancing human rights, and furthering gender equity and equality. Gender-based violence is a human rights abuse, a form of discrimination, and a manifestation of unequal power based on gender.  It occurs in every country and at every level of society, with direct and indirect costs to individuals; families; communities; economies; global public health; development; and human, national, and regional security.

One in three women worldwide have been subjected to intimate partner violence and/or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.  Although persons of all gender identities may experience gender-based violence, women, girls, and gender non-conforming persons face disproportionate risks of gender-based violence across every context due to their unequal status in society.  Examples of gender-based violence include: intimate partner violence; all forms of sexual violence, including conflict-related sexual violence; child, early, and forced marriage; female genital mutilation/cutting; and technology-facilitated gender-based violence.

The U.S. government is taking decisive actions to prevent and respond to gender-based violence through programming, policy, and diplomatic efforts. In December 2022, the United States released an action-oriented update to the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally .  This policy drives a comprehensive, unified, interagency response to gender-based violence abroad and is an update to the first iteration of this strategy launched in 2012. The Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues is proud to serve as the lead coordinating office for the State Department’s gender-based violence prevention and response efforts.


U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future