The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women states, "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women" and "violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men." Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions.At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her.Acid throwing is also associated with these countries, as well as in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia.Honor killing is associated with the Middle East and South Asia.Abuse related to payment of bride price (such as violence, trafficking and forced marriage) is linked to parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania.(Also see lobolo.) Certain regions are no longer associated with a specific form of violence, but such violence was common until quite recently in those places; this is true of honor-based crimes in Southern/Mediterranean Europe.
In the 1870s, courts in the United States stopped recognizing the common-law principle that a husband had the right to "physically chastise an errant wife".These definitions are conceptualized in an understanding of society as patriarchal, signifying unequal relations between men and women.Opponents of such definitions argue that the definitions disregard violence against men and that the term gender, as used in gender based violence, only refers to women.In the 20th and 21st centuries, and in particular since the 1990s, there has been increased activity on both the national and international levels to research, raise awareness and advocate for the prevention of all kinds of violence against women.Most often, violence against women has been framed as a health issue, and also as a violation of human rights.
The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) states, "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men." Several forms of violence are more prevalent in certain parts of the world, often in developing countries.