The field of violence against women is still evolving and there is no unanimity yet on how best to define it.
The term has been used to describe a number of acts including rape and sexual assault, sexual harassment, murder, physical assault, emotional abuse, battering, stalking, genital mutilation and pornography among other definitions.
The debate is whether to define the word “violence” or to broaden it by using the expression “violence against women” as antagonistic behaviours that adversely and disproportionality affect women.
Violence against women is defined differently due to disciplines and is specific to a particular discipline’s methods of research.
Research questions among these different disciplines often differ according to their purpose of research and potential uses of the data gotten therein.
For example, public health focuses on morbidity (injuries) and mortality (deaths) whilst the criminal justice system (courts and law enforcement agencies) has its own focus yet on the other hand criminologists focus more on the behaviour of perpetrators.