Globally, at least one in three women will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner over the course of her lifetime. It can be argued that the perpetuation of violence against women is a result of the failure to provide equality under international law and to protect universal human rights. Over the last three decades, the international community has utilized human rights instruments and international bodies of law to advance the conceptualization of women's rights as human rights. However, the continued prevalence of violence against women points to evidence of gender-based discrimination and lack of gender equality within the legal realm.
This paper will highlight how the evolving jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights has helped shape gender norms and reinforce positive State obligations to prevent and protect women against violence. Moreover, these shifts in the theoretical rights of women will be analyzed to see whether they are translated into practice within domestic jurisdictions.