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Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, “Integration of the human rights of women and the gender perspective: violence against women; Intersections of violence against women and HIV/AIDS”, E/CN.4/2005/72, January 17, 2005

1. Rape and sexual assault

27. Sexual assault and coercion “exists along a continuum, from forcible rape to non- physical forms of pressure that compel girls and women to engage in sex against their will. The touchstone of coercion is that a woman lacks choice and faces severe physical or social consequences if she resists sexual advances”. Sexual assault and coercion can occur at all stages of a woman’s life, whether in the context of marriage, between close family or extended family members, between acquaintances or total strangers. Cases of lesbian women being targeted for rape specifically because of their sexual orientation in order for the aggressor to “prove [the victim’s] womanhood” have also been documented.

58. The intersection of discrimination related to gender, HIV status and sexual orientation – often combined with race and class – create multiple forms of oppression and violence that keep women subordinated. Overall, women consistently face more and greater discrimination at home, in the community, in the workplace, or in the health-care setting. (…)

Link to full text of the report: