School-related Gender-based Violence in the Asia-Pacific Region
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a fundamental violation of human rights. It is one of the worst manifestations of gender-based discrimination, disproportionately affecting girls and women. GBV is a global phenomenon that knows no geographical, cultural, social, economic, ethnic, or other boundaries. It occurs across all societies, and is a major obstacle to the achievement of gender equality.
In the region, GBV is often tolerated and sustained by social institutions, including the school – the very place where children are expected to be safe, protected and empowered. SRGBV remains not fully examined in the region, and is perhaps even overlooked in many educational environments.
SRGBV continues to affect children in the Asia-Pacific region each year, and boys, girls, transgender and intersex children can be targets. In Asia and the Pacific – as elsewhere – SRGBV is a critical barrier to the right to education, not only because of its serious physical and psychological health implications, but also because it may lead to the deterioration of the learning environment as a whole. The experience or even the threat of SRGBV often results in irregular attendance, dropout, truancy, poor school performance, and low self-esteem, which may follow into their adult lives. Importantly, SRGBV is often aggravated in conflict-affected countries and during emergencies. Witnessing or experiencing violence in schools may have irreversible consequences for students in perpetrating or further experiencing violence in adult lives.
By specifically looking at SRGBV in the Asia-Pacific region, this review hopes to close the analytical gap in what we know about the causes, nature, manifestation, scale and the consequences of SRGBV in the region. This analytical gap results from many causes, including that: a) gender-based violence literature often overlooks children, b) violence against children research often does not focus adequately on gender, and c) SRGBV research generally has not been widespread in the Asia-Pacific region, but more in sub-Saharan Africa.