Report on Violence Against Women in Elections in Jordan
The United Nations (UN) defines violence against women as “any act of genderbased violence that results in or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”1 The UN definition challenges traditional or popular concepts that violence against women is limited to physical or sexual “violence” or confined to the home as a private matter. Public discussion and actions to address violence against women have increased greatly in many countries in recent years. However, the topic continues to be taboo and misunderstood in societies where gender-based roles and stereotypes continue to be rooted in conservative, patriarchal cultures.
There is also increasing international attention to acts of violence and harassment against women in politics, recognising the intersection between violence and women’s public participation and how this impacts the validity of democratic processes. Violence against women in elections is an act of gender-based violence aimed principally at women because they aspire to engage in political processes, such as running for office, working as election officials or attending campaign rallies. Election-related violence includes acts of coercion or using force or threats to influence individuals’ voting choices, which has an asymmetrical impact on women because of their marginalised and vulnerable status in their communities.