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Gender Violence Overview

Our Approach

Gender violence is violence that is based on and reinforces gender norms and roles, and gender hierarchies.

Gender violence has often been described primarily as violence men perpetrate against women including sexual assault, intimate partner violence and stalking.  Prevalence data does show this pattern, but this is not the whole picture.  Sex assault, intimate partner violence and stalking can happen between partners of all sexes and genders.   (Examples include, straight, gay, trans, bi, other).

And while sexual assault, intimate partner violence are prevalent forms, violence directed at people who do not conform in their gender presentation or behavior is a significant piece of the gender violence picture.  This includes queer, androgynous and other people.  This violence is pervasive and has huge health impacts and social costs.

If you or a friend have experienced gender violence, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and other forms of violence on the CU-Boulder campus click here for response resources.

If you would like to know more about prevention efforts on our campus, click here.

Public Health Perspective

Access to appropriate health care and a safe working and learning environment in college can have significant impacts on retention and achievement for students.  This in turn shapes career options and health over the lifespan.

People who do not conform to dominant gender presentation norms often to do not have access to routine health care, safe employment or a safe living environment.  Provider bias can block access to routine health care.

In addition, some health care systems actively pathologize people who attempt to gain medical or surgical help in shaping their bodies to match their gender identity; these systems can deny medically necessary surgery, characterizing it as cosmetic.

Sexual assault, intimate partner violence and stalking have a significant impact on health and functioning.

In addition, access to effective, appropriate health care for issues of gender violence or for reproductive health care creates health inequity.

In fact, the negative effects of any medical condition for which people have unequal access to treatment based on sex, gender or gender presentation could be considered a form of systemic gender violence.

From a public health perspective, access to appropriate health care as well as a safe environment and adequate employment are significant factors in health equity.

Scientific Evidence Tells Us

Health consequences can result directly from violent acts or from the long-term effects of violence.

  • Injuries: Physical and sexual abuse by a partner is closely associated with injuries. Violence by an intimate partner is the leading cause of non-fatal injuries to women in the USA.  Gender based harassment and attacks occur in a variety of settings.
  • Death: Deaths from violence against women include honor killings (by families for cultural reasons); suicide; female infanticide (murder of infant girls); and maternal death from unsafe abortion.  In addition, GLBT and gender non-conforming people are murdered in the U.S. and globally.
  • Sexual and reproductive health: Gender violence is associated with all sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, as well as unintended pregnancies, gynecological problems, induced abortions, and adverse pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage, low birth weight and fetal death.  For male-bodied individuals, consequences can include and decrease in sexual function, erectile dysfunction and other long-term health effects.
  • Mental health: Violence and abuse increase risk of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep difficulties, eating disorders and emotional distress.
  • Physical health: Abuse is associated with increased stress and a variety of health problems.


CU-Boulder Office of Victim Assistance
Confidential Reporting

World Health Oranization

Pervasive Discrimination Against Transgender People Found