These definitions of VAW as being gender-based are seen by some to be unsatisfactory and problematic.

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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.

There has also been a history of recognizing the harmful effects of this violence.

(Also see lobolo.) Certain regions are no longer associated with a specific form of violence, but such violence was common until quite recently in those places; this is true of honor-based crimes in Southern/Mediterranean Europe.

For instance, in Italy, before 1981, the Criminal Code provided for mitigating circumstances in case of a killing of a woman or her sexual partner for reasons related to honor, providing for a reduced sentence.

For example, dowry violence and bride burning is associated with India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

Acid throwing is also associated with these countries, as well as in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia.

In the 1870s, courts in the United States stopped recognizing the common-law principle that a husband had the right to "physically chastise an errant wife".

In the 20th and 21st centuries, and in particular since the 1990s, there has been increased activity on both the national and international levels to research, raise awareness and advocate for the prevention of all kinds of violence against women.

At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her.

Violence against women can fit into several broad categories.

Honor killing is associated with the Middle East and South Asia.