Types of violence
Violence against women can fit into several broad categories. These include violence carried out by individuals as well as states. Some of the forms of violence perpetrated by individuals are: rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, acid throwing, reproductive coercion, female infanticide, prenatal sex selection, obstetric violence, and mob violence; as well as harmful customary or traditional practices such as honor killings, dowry violence, female genital mutilation, marriage by abduction and forced marriage. There are forms of violence which may be perpetrated or condoned by the government, such as war rape; sexual violence and sexual slavery during conflict; forced sterilization; forced abortion; violence by the police and authoritative personnel; stoning and flogging. Many forms of VAW, such as trafficking in women and forced prostitution are often perpetrated by organized criminal networks. Histrorically, there have been forms of organized WAV, such as the Witch trials in the early modern period or the sexual slavery of the Comfort women.
The World Health Organization (WHO), in its research on VAW, has analyzed and categorized the different forms of VAW occurring through all stages of life from before birth to old age.
In recent years, there has been a trend of approaching VAW at an international level through means such as conventions or, in the European Union, through directives (such as the directive against sexual harassment, and the directive against human trafficking).