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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.
Many forms of VAW, such as trafficking in women and forced prostitution are often perpetrated by organized criminal networks.
(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.
There has also been a history of recognizing the harmful effects of this violence.
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".
Other critics argue that employing the term gender in this particular way may introduce notions of inferiority and subordination for femininity and superiority for masculinity.
There is no widely accepted current definition that covers all the dimensions of gender based violence rather than the one for women that tends to reproduce the concept of binary oppositions: masculinity versus femininity.
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.