Many forms of VAW, such as trafficking in women and forced prostitution are often perpetrated by organized criminal networks.In recent years, there has been a trend of approaching VAW at an international level, through instruments such as conventions; or, in the European Union, through directives, such as the directive against sexual harassment, The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, provides the following definition of violence against women: "violence against women" is understood as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women and shall mean all acts of gender-based violence that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life it was the 1993 United Nations General Assembly resolution on the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which became the first international instrument to explicitly define VAW and elaborate on the subject.The history of violence against women remains vague in scientific literature.This is in part because many kinds of violence against women (specifically rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence) are under-reported, often due to societal norms, taboos, stigma, and the sensitive nature of the subject.There is also debate and controversy about the ways in which cultural traditions, local customs and social expectations, as well as various interpretations of religion, interact with abusive practices.Specifically, cultural justifications for certain violent acts against women are asserted by some states and social groups within many countries claiming to defend their traditions.The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) states, "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men." Several forms of violence are more prevalent in certain parts of the world, often in developing countries.For example, dowry violence and bride burning is associated with India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.
Honor killing is associated with the Middle East and South Asia.
These justifications are questionable precisely because the defenses are generally voiced by political leaders or traditional authorities, not by those actually affected.
The need for sensitivity and respect of culture is an element that cannot be ignored either; thus a sensitive debate has ensued and is ongoing.
In addition, the term gender-based violence refers to "any acts or threats of acts intended to hurt or make women suffer physically, sexually or psychologically, and which affect women because they are women or affect women disproportionately".
Moreover, the definition stated by the 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women also supported the notion that violence is rooted in the inequality between men and women when the term violence is used together with the term 'gender-based.' In Recommendation Rec(2002)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the protection of women against violence, the Council of Europe stipulated that VAW "includes, but is not limited to, the following":a.