V

This Glossary provides a central place to find the meaning of key terms in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) work and to access resources for further learning. It will grow and change as the GBV field does. If you find a term should be added or revised, please contact us at vawln@uwo.ca

You can view the terms associated with a letter by selecting the letter below. Crossed out letters do not have any terms. You can also click here for a PDF of all the included terms.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Vicarious Trauma

Vicarious trauma (VT) refers to negative changes that individuals may experience as a result of being exposed to individuals who have undergone traumatic experiences.  Specifically, it can “alter [one’s] beliefs regarding themselves, others, and their worldview.” [1]

“Clinicians can experience VT when exposed to their patients’ traumatic experiences which triggers negative beliefs about safety, power, independence, esteem, and intimacy.  VT can also lead to ‘decreased motivation, efficacy and empathy’ (McCann & Pearlman 1990).  Typically, VT develops over time as an individual is continually exposed to their clients’ experiences, and often manifests mentally while presenting as symptoms that align with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” [1]

“Vicarious trauma and secondary traumatic stress have many similarities and while the two terms are meant to describe different experiences, they are often used interchangeably to represent the same phenomenon. However, VT and STS represent two distinct experiences and they apply to different populations. STS can be experienced by multiple sets of individuals, while vicarious trauma applies only to those individuals in direct care positions, such as first responders, health care providers, and social workers. STS and VT can be clearly differentiated by examining the length of manifestation of these two disorders.” [1]

Footnotes:

[1] Guitar, N. & Molinaro, M. (2017) Vicarious trauma and secondary traumatic stress in health care professionals. University of Western Ontario Medical Journal. 86(2):42-3. Retrieved from https://ojs.lib.uwo.ca/index.php/uwomj/article/view/2021

Victim Blaming

“Victim blaming is a devaluing act that occurs when the victim(s) of a crime or an accident is held responsible — in whole or in part — for the crimes that have been committed against them.  This blame can appear in the form of negative social responses from legal, medical, and mental health professionals, as well as from the media and immediate family members and other acquaintances.” [1]

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Footnotes:

[1] The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime. (2009). Victim blaming. Retrieved from https://crcvc.ca/docs/victim_blaming.pdf

Violence Against Women

The United Nations defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental 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]

Footnotes:

[1] United Nations. (1993). Declaration on the elimination of violence against women. New York: UN. Retrieved from https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/ViolenceAgainstWomen.aspx