Reasons Why Survivors of Gender-based Violence may Feel Hesitant to Report this Human Rights Violation

On this page, we discuss the reasons on why survivors of gender-based violence may feel hesitant to report human rights violation:

Title: Unveiling the Silence: Why Survivors of Gender-Based Violence May Hesitate to Report

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a profound and widespread problem across the world, deeply rooted in gender inequality, and continues to be one of the most notable human rights violations. It is a pervasive issue that affects millions of women and men, girls and boys, and people of diverse gender identities. Despite its frequency and severity, GBV often goes unreported due to a complex web of factors.

Reasons Why Survivors of Gender-based Violence may Feel Hesitant to Report Human Rights Violation

Survivors of gender-based violence may feel hesitant to report human rights violations because they might fear retaliation from the perpetrator, stigmatization or blame from society, or mistrust in the legal system’s ability to provide justice. They may also be concerned about not being believed, facing additional trauma through the process of recounting their experiences, or experiencing distress due to a lack of sensitivity in handling such cases by law enforcement or legal personnel.

Let’s explore some of the reasons why survivors may feel hesitant to report these incidents:

Fear of Retaliation

One of the most significant deterrents for survivors of GBV is the fear of retaliation. The threat may come directly from the perpetrator, indirectly from their friends or family, or even from the broader community. Survivors may fear physical harm, harassment, further abuse, or even death if they disclose their experiences.

Stigmatization and Victim-Blaming

Cultural norms and societal attitudes often contribute to victim-blaming and stigmatization of GBV survivors. People may question what the survivor did to provoke the violence or make negative assumptions about their character or behavior. This societal shaming can make survivors reluctant to come forward, fearing judgment, isolation, or further harm.

Lack of Trust in the Justice System

Survivors often cite a lack of trust in the justice system as a reason for not reporting GBV. They may fear that they will not be believed, or that the system will not adequately protect them or punish the perpetrator. Additionally, the process of reporting can be traumatic, as survivors may have to recount their experiences multiple times to indifferent or skeptical authorities.

Economic Dependence

Economic factors can significantly influence a survivor’s decision to report GBV. If the perpetrator is a primary breadwinner in the household, survivors may fear economic instability or homelessness if they report the violence. This economic dependence can be a powerful barrier, especially for survivors with children or other dependents.

Lack of Awareness and Access to Services

Many survivors may not be aware of the resources available to them or how to access these services. This lack of knowledge can be especially pronounced in rural or marginalized communities with limited access to social services. Lack of accessible and safe transportation, language barriers, and other systemic obstacles can also prevent survivors from seeking help.

Psychological Barriers

The psychological impact of GBV can also hinder reporting. Feelings of shame, guilt, or self-blame can be overwhelming, leading survivors to remain silent. Additionally, trauma can cause dissociation or repressed memories, which can make it difficult for survivors to articulate their experiences.


Understanding these barriers is the first step towards creating a safer, more supportive environment for survivors of GBV. Society, institutions, and communities need to work together to address these hurdles, ensuring that survivors feel heard, believed, and protected when they choose to report gender-based violence. The fight against GBV is not just about intervention and punishment; it’s about prevention, support, and ultimately, societal transformation.

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