Forms of gender-based violence
There are many different forms of violence, which you can read more about here. All these types of violence can be – and almost always are – gendered in nature, because of how gendered power inequalities are entrenched in our society.
GBV can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial or structural, and can be perpetrated by intimate partners, acquaintances, strangers and institutions. Most acts of interpersonal gender-based violence are committed by men against women, and the man perpetrating the violence is often known by the woman, such as a partner or family member .
Violence against women and girls (VAWG)
GBV is disproportionately directed against women and girls . For this reason, you may find that some definitions use GBV and VAWG interchangeably, and in this article, we focus mainly on VAWG.
Violence against LGBTI people
However, it is possible for people of all genders to be subject to GBV. For example, GBV is often experienced by people who are seen as not conforming to their assigned gender roles, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex people.
Intimate partner violence (IPV)
IPV is the most common form of GBV and includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and controlling behaviours by a current or former intimate partner or spouse, and can occur in heterosexual or same-sex couples .
Domestic violence (DV)
Domestic violence refers to violence which is carried out by partners or family members. As such, DV can include IPV, but also encompasses violence against children or other family members.
Sexual violence (SV)
Sexual violence is “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.” 
Indirect (structural) violence
Structural violence is “where violence is built into structures, appearing as unequal power relations and, consequently, as unequal opportunities.
Structural violence exists when certain groups, classes, genders or nationalities have privileged access to goods, resources and opportunities over others, and when this unequal advantage is built into the social, political and economic systems that govern their lives.”
Because of the ways in which this violence is built into systems, political and social change is needed over time to identify and address structural violence.
GBV in South Africa
Societies free of GBV do not exist, and South Africa is no exception .
Although accurate statistics are difficult to obtain for many reasons (including the fact that most incidents of GBV are not reported  ), it is evident South Africa has particularly high rates of GBV, including VAWG and violence against LGBT people.
Population-based surveys show very high levels of intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-partner sexual violence (SV) in particular, with IPV being the most common form of violence against women.
- Whilst people of all genders perpetrate and experience intimate partner and or sexual violence, men are most often the perpetrators and women and children the victims .
- More than half of all the women murdered (56%) in 2009 were killed by an intimate male partner .
- Between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual and/or physical IPV in their lifetime [9, 10].
- Just under 50% of women report having ever experienced emotional or economic abuse at the hands of their intimate partners in their lifetime .
- Prevalence estimates of rape in South Africa range between 12% and 28% of women ever reporting being raped in their lifetime [10-12].
- Between 28 and 37% of adult men report having raped a women [10, 13].
- Non-partner SV is particularly common, but reporting to police is very low. One study found that one in 13 women in Gauteng had reported non-partner rape, and only one in 25 rapes had been reported to the police .
- South Africa also faces a high prevalence of gang rape .
- Most men who rape do so for the first time as teenagers and almost all men who ever rape do so by their mid-20s .
- There is limited research into rape targeting women who have sex with women. One study across four Southern African countries, including South Africa, found that 31.1% of women reported having experienced forced sex .
- Male victims of rape are another under-studied group. One survey in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape found that 9.6% of men reported having experienced sexual victimisation by another man .