understanding of rights violations … as a distortion of relationships and network systems that are sustained by these rights in a way that is especially relevant for women.’20 VAWH as a form of discrimination against women: patterns of discrimination VAWH is a form of discrimination against women because they are women and/ or that affects women disproportionately, and it is structural, meaning that this form of violence is rooted in society, and based, as explained by the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention, on the ‘crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into
The book explores the relationship between violence against women on one hand, and the rights to health and reproductive health on the other. It argues that violation of the right to health is a consequence of violence, and that (state) health policies might be a cause of – or create the conditions for – violence against women. It significantly contributes to feminist and international human rights legal scholarship by conceptualising a new ground-breaking idea, violence against women’s health (VAWH), using the Hippocratic paradigm as the backbone of the analysis. The two dimensions of violence at the core of the book – the horizontal, ‘interpersonal’ dimension and the vertical ‘state policies’ dimension – are investigated through around 70 decisions of domestic, regional and international judicial or quasi-judicial bodies (the anamnesis). The concept of VAWH, drawn from the anamnesis, enriches the traditional concept of violence against women with a human rights-based approach to autonomy and a reflection on the pervasiveness of patterns of discrimination (diagnosis). VAWH as theorised in the book allows the reconceptualisation of states’ obligations in an innovative way, by identifying for both dimensions obligations of result, due diligence obligations, and obligations to progressively take steps (treatment). The book eventually asks whether it is not international law itself that is the ultimate cause of VAWH (prognosis).
Introduction: the narrative Premise and main argument: elaborating the new notion of violence against women’s health Violence against women (VAW) has been the object of hundreds of studies, pertaining to different areas of research. International law has been one of these areas, the analysis focusing on gender-based violence as a violation of human rights, in particular a violation of the principle of non-discrimination, the prohibition of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, the right to life, the right to respect for private and family life, and on states
the health sector causing VAWH, to efficiently investigate episodes of violence) and obligations to progressively take steps, which embrace, in a longer perspective, obligations both of means and of result (drawing up documents for health personnel explaining what is meant by women’s rights to health and to reproductive health). In both dimensions lack of interference is not enough, because what is needed is to eradicate the root causes of violence, to disrupt the patterns of discrimination at societal and state level, and to subvert the dominant patriarchal nature
by the WHO as ‘disrespectful and abusive treatment during childbirth.’12 Both dimensions will demonstrate that when the state, acting as a ‘male’ actor, does not prevent interpersonal violence, or hinders access to health services, it perpetuates discrimination against women, and tolerates, contributes and causes VAWH.13 The horizontal, ‘interpersonal’ dimension Domestic violence Context and legal background Domestic violence (DV) violates women’s fundamental rights, including the right to health and the right to reproductive health. The term ‘intimate partner
structure to respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights, and connects due diligence to the obligation of ‘taking all 186 DE VIDO 9781526124975 PRINT.indd 186 24/03/2020 11:01 The treatment appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women’ under Article 2(e) CEDAW: Due diligence obligations for acts and omissions of non-State actors … This obligation, frequently referred to as an obligation of due diligence, underpins the Convention as a whole and accordingly States parties will be responsible if they fail to take all appropriate measures to prevent as