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Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, A/HRC/14/22/Add.1, 2 June 2010


B. Sexual violence and other forms of violence amounting to torture or ill- treatment

17. The Special Rapporteur wishes to recall that sexual violence, a pervasive manifestation of gender-based violence, is not restricted to specific regions, countries or contexts, but is a universal problem that exists in every country and region of the world, be it in contexts of peace, conflict, post-conflict and transitional justice. Sexual violence is rooted in a global culture of discrimination, which results in unequal power relations between men and women and legitimizes the appropriation and control of women’s bodies. Women’s vulnerability to sexual violence is heightened by the existence of social and cultural norms that foster inequality, as well as by sexist policies and practices that often deny women effective recourse and force them to remain in violent situations. While sexual violence is often looked at in isolation, it often intertwines with other forms of discrimination, including on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, social status or disabilities.

D. Violence against women facing multiple and intersecting layers of discrimination

22. 7 out of 38 of all communications sent concerned women facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. Women belonging to national, ethnic or religious minorities and migrant women are represented among such reported victims.

23. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur would like to refer to Human Rights Council Resolution 7/24 and recall that all forms of discrimination, including racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination and disadvantage can lead to the particular targeting or vulnerability to violence against girls and some groups of women, such as women belonging to minority groups, indigenous women, refugee and internally displaced women, migrant women, women living in rural or remote communities, destitute women, women in institutions or in detention, women with disabilities, elderly women, widows and women in situations of armed conflict, women who are otherwise discriminated against, including on the basis of HIV/AIDS status and victims of commercial sexual exploitation. She also wishes to recall the widespread discrimination and violence suffered by some groups of women owing to their sexual orientation and gender identity.

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