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Author: Sara De Vido

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).

Open Access (free)
A conceptualisation of violence against women’s health (VAWH)
Sara De Vido

, gender-based crimes or practices. I will argue in these pages that, compared to the idea of VAW, this new concept can be enriched by another element, the limitation of women’s autonomy, which will be construed in these pages along human rights-based lines. In the introduction, I ‘de-constructed’ the idea of VAW, analysing it from five different perspectives; in this chapter I will ‘construct’ the concept of VAWH, in an attempt to provide the clearest conceptualisation of my argument. Being a framework definition, VAWH does not include the element of intent. Nonetheless

in Violence against women’s health in international law
Open Access (free)
The prognosis
Sara De Vido

criminalise under the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention to find confirmation of that.2 I regard denial of access to abortion, denial of access 235 DE VIDO 9781526124975 PRINT.indd 235 24/03/2020 11:02 Violence against women’s health in international law to emergency contraception, obstetric violence and involuntary sterilisation as forms of VAWH in their vertical dimension, because they are the product of policies or laws in the field of health. I also characterise the notion of VAWH as having an additional element: the limitation of women’s autonomy. This element

in Violence against women’s health in international law
Open Access (free)
The narrative
Sara De Vido

focuses on the horizontal, interpersonal dimension. Compared to the concept of VAW, VAWH will be capable of comprehensively grasping the two dimensions of violence affecting women’s rights to health and to reproductive health, and will add a new element to the definition: the limitation of women’s autonomy, which is absent from the notion of VAW as elaborated at the international level. The main argument has been built on the paradigm of medicine which has been known since Hippocrates: anamnesis, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.7 The paradigm is a useful tool for

in Violence against women’s health in international law
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

expansion of opportunities in education and work increased women’s autonomy and independence, and single women began to be seen as more of a threat. Accordingly, the derogatory discourses emerged again, here too compounded in the early twentieth century by sexological theories which proposed the harm of celibacy, at the same time proclaiming the dangers of non-married sexual practices. hH In Britain, probably the spinster’s best moment was in the last years of the nineteenth century and the very early twentieth century – the time of the ‘new woman’. Judy Little traces

in Austerity baby
Open Access (free)
‘Case history’ on violence against women, and against women’s rights to health and to reproductive health
Sara De Vido

by women as a form of ‘instrumentalisation of women’s body’: ‘patriarchal negation of women’s autonomy in decision-making leads to violation of women’s rights to health, privacy, reproductive and sexual self-determination, physical integrity and even to life.’270 Instrumentalisation includes the discriminatory use of criminal law, such as provisions on termination of pregnancy, the enforcement of which ‘generates stigma and discrimination.’271 Abortion laws differ from country to country,272 and they are highly influenced by religious communities, in particular the

in Violence against women’s health in international law
Open Access (free)
Reconceptualising states’ obligations in countering VAWH
Sara De Vido

and domestic levels) and the diagnosis (the elaboration of the concept of VAWH), I will differentiate the following types of obligation: positive obligations of result, positive obligations of due diligence and positive obligations to progressively take steps. I will consider the negative obligation not to interfere when positive obligations intersect, to emphasise in particular that respect for women’s autonomy is pivotal in the protection of women’s rights to health and to reproductive health. A positive obligation of result consists, in the words of Pisillo

in Violence against women’s health in international law