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The 7 types of gender violence (and characteristics)

The 7 types of gender violence (and characteristics)

January 1, 2023

A woman arrives at the hospital due to a series of injuries . A bruise on the eye, burns, scratches on the back, fractured wrist, damage to the genital tract, a history of visits to the hospital for alleged falls ... Although they can be due to many different causes, the combined presence of these factors makes one suspect of the existence of gender violence.

This type of violence is a problem that still remains in today's society and that has led the lives of many people, killed at the hands of their partner. But gender violence is not reduced to physical aggression. There are different types of gender violence , which distorts and diminishes the situation of a person because of his gender.

The concept of gender violence

It is understood by gender violence (or sexist violence, according to other sources) to all that type of violence that is carried out by harming the physical, psychological or relational well-being of a person due to their gender or gender identity. Aggression is intentionally used, whether by physical force or, for the purpose of causing harm, coercing, limiting or manipulating the person subjected to violence.

This type of violence can have devastating effects on victims . At a physical level, serious injuries can occur that can lead to incapacitation, coma or even death. At the psychological level, it is frequent that people who suffer gender violence are not able to denounce, usually due to fear of possible repercussions for them or their loved ones, the presence of disbelief or the belief that they will not be supported.

Nor is it uncommon for victims to feel guilty or responsible for the situation or to be afraid of causing pain in other people (for example, in the presence of children). Even, depending on the type of education received or the time the victim has been manipulated, one may think that it is normal behavior and / or that they feel worthy of it.


Generally the aggressor part acts moved by the desire of power and domination, and is frequently influenced by gender stereotypes . Generally behind it there are feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem that one tries to supply through the domination of those who the individual considers inferior or unable to cope.

It is also possible that there is an exaggerated self-esteem with narcissistic overtones that results in their own rights being considered above those of the rest. In some cases, an instrumental abuse directed to a specific objective may be found. Finally, the absence of empathy is a phenomenon and / or uncontrolled impulsivity can facilitate aggression.

Distinguishing types of aggressions

When we talk about gender violence, we usually think of situations where aggression occurs within a couple . The most common gender violence situation is that of a man who commits a series of continuous and systematic abuses a woman because she is a woman, whom she considers inferior or pretends to dominate.

That is why gender violence is often confused with sexist violence or violence against women. However, it should not be forgotten that there are also men who suffer this type of violence from their partners. In addition, although it is not usually considered gender violence because it is not based on sex or sexual identity, the existence of partner violence in same-sex couples must not be forgotten. That is why today, more than gender violence should talk about dating violence.

Types of gender violence

As indicated above, the concept of gender violence includes a wide variety of attitudes and actions that can harm the person from different dimensions. After all, there are many ways to harm a person.

Although not in all cases the person is attacked from all areas, Within gender violence we can find the following types of violence .

1. Physical violence

The most visible and recognized as gender violence, Physical violence is considered to be any act in which physical harm is inflicted on the victim that through direct aggression . This damage can be temporary or permanent.

Within this type of violence include blows, wounds, fractures, scratches. Although sometimes they can be trivialized or considered that they can occur during a discussion, shoving and jostling also fall into the category of physical violence. Physical incapacitation can occur due to the consequences of the assaults, and even depending on the level of damage caused, it can lead to death.

2. Psychological violence

This type of violence is characterized because, although physically there may not be an aggression, the victim is humiliated, undervalued and psychologically attacked . This attack can be direct and actively carried out in the form of insults and humiliations or carried out in a more passive way, devaluing the couple without the latter considering that they are suffering an attack.

Psychological violence includes the presence of humiliations, threats and coercion (using in some cases the threat of physical aggression against the victim or relatives), contempt and devaluation. Also make the person feel helpless, forced to do certain actions and dependent on the aggressor, guilty of the situation of abuse and deserving of punishment.

Because in many cases a direct aggression is not perceived in the message, many victims are not aware of being mistreated and do not take action against the aggressor. It can be considered that practically in all cases of gender violence, regardless of the type and reason for it, there is violence of a psychological nature.

  • Related article: "Profile of the psychological abuser: 21 features in common"

3. Sexual violence

While it could somehow be considered within physical violence, sexual violence refers specifically to those situations in which a person is forced or coerced to carry out activities of a sexual nature against their will, or in that sexuality is limited or imposed by another person.

It is not necessary that there is penetration or that the sexual act occurs. It includes the presence of rape within the couple, forced prostitution, forcing conception or abortion, genital mutilation, sexual harassment or unwanted touching, among others.

  • It may interest you: "Psychological profile of the rapist: 12 traits and attitudes in common"

4. Economic violence

This type of violence is based on the reduction and deprivation of economic resources to the couple or their offspring as a measure of coercion, manipulation or with the intention of damaging their integrity. It is also considered as such the fact of obliging the aggressor to depend economically, preventing the victim's access to the labor market through threats, coercion or physical restraint.

5. Heritage violence

Usurpation or destruction of objects, goods and property is considered patrimonial violence of the victim of violence with the intention of controlling or causing psychological harm. In many ways, these assets are the fruit of decades of work, and destroying them is a way to show that all these efforts have not served any purpose. However, it should be noted that this type of aggression may affect other people, especially the neighbors.

6. Social violence

Social violence is based on the limitation, control and induction of social isolation of the person . The victim is separated from family and friends, depriving them of social support and distancing them from their usual environment. Sometimes the victim is placed against their environment, causing the victim or environment to decide to disassociate.

For example, attacks against the façade of the home are very characteristic of this type of violence, since they allow leaving visible signs throughout the world that the victim deserves to be attacked in the sight of all.

7. Vicarious violence

A large number of couples in which gender violence occurs have children . In many cases the aggressor decides to threaten, attack and even kill these children with the purpose of damaging their partner or ex-partner.

This type of violence is called vicarious violence, which also includes the harm caused to minors by the observation of mistreatment between the parents. The psychological impact is what is sought, through control, submission and aggressions to people who are not directly involved in the core of the conflict.

Beware: gender violence is not only in the couple

When we think of gender violence in the first thing we think is the existence of abuse in situations of a couple. But gender violence is not specific to the area of ​​the couple, but can occur in multiple areas without the need for the person to carry it out is a spouse. Institutions, the family and society in general can also be places where situations of gender violence appear like the previous ones.

It is necessary to work to prevent and raise awareness among citizens, educating in different aspects such as tolerance of diversity, equality of rights and opportunities and emotional education in order to avoid new situations of gender violence.

Bibliographic references:

  • Durán, M. (2004). Legal-feminist analysis of the Organic Law of Integral Protection Measures against Gender Violence. Article 14. A gender perspective. Legal Information and Analysis Bulletin. Andalusian Institute for Women.
  • Kilmartin, C; Allison, J. A. (2007). Men's Violence Against Women: Theory, Research, and Activism. Routledge.
  • Organic Law on Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence of December 28, 2004, BOE of December 29, 2004.
  • Lorente, M. (2001). My husband hit me normal. Aggression to women: realities and myths. Ares y Mares, Editorial Crítica, Madrid.
  • Pérez, J.M .; Montalvo, A. (2010). Gender violence: analysis and approach to its causes and consequences. Gender violence: prevention, detection and attention. Editorial Group.

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