a) Physical effects
This includes pain, contracting of STI’s and HIV in cases where the assailant is infected, mutilated genitalia, unintended pregnancy, abortion or infanticide, unwanted children, and even death.
b) Psychological effects
Psychological trauma is also known to result from GBV and this range from paralysis and terror to emotional pain; sense of denial, depression, mental disorder, and sometimes suicide. The victim can also experience nightmares and be haunted by fears and feelings of shame or guilt.
c) Social effects
Social costs to survivors of GBV include rejection, stigmatization, further sexual exploitation and severe punishment. The development and wellbeing of children and families is also affected. Boys who witness battery are likely to be of violent disposition while girls grow into victims. GBV inhibits girl’s access to schooling, may result in poor performance at school and deprives society of the full participation of women in development. Most researches confirm that;
“Early sexual victimization may leave women less skilled in protecting themselves, less sure of their worth and their personal boundaries, and more apt to accept victimization as part of being female hence increasing chances of future victimization like battery, rape, domestic violence, high risk behaviour in adolescence and adulthood like unprotected sex with multiple partners, alcohol/substance abuse, teen pregnancy and prostitution among others.”
d) Economic effects
Victims bear enormous financial costs in accessing justice and health services. Organizations also bear costs when they commit resources to provisions of legal and health services to survivors.
Violence against women and girls is a global scourge that affects the health and economic stability of women, their families and their communities. Women who are victims of violence are often unable/afraid to seek health and other forms of care, such that the violence in their lives can not only have long standing physical and psychological effects for the survivors, it can also undermine national development because it handicaps women’s ability to participate in the social and economic life of their communities. Gender based violence also serves to perpetuate male power and control. It is sustained by a culture of silence and denial of the seriousness of the myriad consequence of abuse.
GBV violates several recognized human rights such as the right to life, freedom from torture, equal protection before the law, liberty and security of person, the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and the right to be heard. It also violates women’s right to control their sexuality.