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Beauty and the Beast: Violence in the Lives of Women and Girls (December 2013): Home

By Karen Evans


This bibliographic essay first appeared in the December 2013 issue of Choice (volume 51 | number 04).


Throughout the world, violence against women and girls is a critical societal issue.  While females are most often the victims, it is also true that women, and increasingly girls, are also responsible for violent acts.  This essay highlights key publications covering the important topic of violence in the lives of women and girls, both as victims and as perpetrators.  Resources discussed examine a wide range of topics, including domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, bullying, homicide, stalking, and honor crimes.  Separate sections address the increasing violence exhibited by girls, as well as female involvement in terrorism.  Although this essay cannot begin to cover every topic in depth, it can serve as a starting point for research on the issues.

How do we define violence?  Oxford Dictionaries define violence as “behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage or kill someone or something.”[1]  Yet this essay illustrates that violence can be without physical force, inflicting emotional and psychological damage.  A more succinct meaning of violence is from the Violence Prevention Alliance, which uses the definition from the World Health Organization’s World Report on Violence and Health: “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.”[2]  No matter what type of violence women and girls experience or mete out to others, the damage can be deadly for those involved.

[1] Oxford Dictionaries  (Accessed August 28, 2013).

[2] Violence Prevention Alliance. (Accessed August 28, 2013).