According to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the term gender-based violence (GBV) is used to distinguish violence that targets individuals or groups of individuals on the basis of their gender from other forms of violence. It includes any act which results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm. GBV includes violent acts such as rape, torture, mutilation, sexual slavery, forced impregnation and murder. It also defines threats of these acts as a form of violence.
"Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. And it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards, equality, development and peace."
- Kofi Annan, 1999
"I'm trying to find an article related to (insert subject here), but where do I start?!"
The first place you will want to look is the E-Resource Gateway. If you have a subject in mind, you can use the Subject Browse function. For Gendered Violence in Africa, you could first look in the "Gender/Sexuality Studies" category and narrow it down to "Women's Studies" or you could go toward "Area/International Studies" and then "African." You could also go to "Social Sciences" and then pick one of many related sub-categories.
With all of these choices, it may seem difficult to choose--- just pick the one that seems most relevant and see where it takes you. If you choose "Gender/Sexuality Studies" and "All," you will see the GenderWatch database. See description below:
GenderWatch is a full text database of publications that focus on the impact of gender across a broad spectrum of subject areas. GenderWatch supports programs in business, education, literature and the arts, health sciences, history, political science, public policy, sociology and contemporary culture, gender and women's studies and more. Publications include academic and scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications,books, booklets and pamphlets, conference proceedings, and government, n-g-o and special reports.
The database provides in-depth coverage of the subjects that are uniquely central to women's lives, including family, childbirth, birth control, daycare,domestic abuse, work and the workplace, sexual harassment, aging, aging parents, body image, eating disorders and social and societal roles. It also includes content on the impact of gender and gender roles on areas such as: the arts, popular culture and media, business and work, crime and criminology, education, research and scholarship, family, health care and medicine, politics, policy and legislation, pornography, religion, sexuality and sexology, sports and leisure.
GenderWatch contains archival material, in some cases as far back as the 1970's with additional archival material continually added.
If you would like to know more about violence against women in Africa, enter "violence AND africa" into the search fields. In Women's Studies databases, there is no need to type "violence AND africa AND women" because the term "women" is implied. Similarly, you can limit your results by using a specific country or geographical region instead of Africa.
Now if you are not quite sure which specific topic you need to research but you have a general idea (like social issues in Africa), you can use the E-Journals Title List to give you some inspiration. Similar to the E-Resource Gateway, you can narrow down your search by subject browse. However, there is no Area/International Studies category. If you use the "Social Sciences" and "Gender Studies" categories, you will see a list of great journals (which are also listed on this website under the Online Journals tab). The vast majority of journals do not look like they are related to Africa in any way, but you would be surprised. The journal Agenda has a generic title, but here is the description:
The Agenda journal facilitates dialogue and debates between academic gender researchers, activists within the women's movement and other segments of civil society. The journal is recognized as part of African women's long-term struggle against unequal power relations. It was first published in 1987 and is now in its 20th year of publication. To date, Agenda Feminist Media has published 70 themed, quarterly journals.
Once you find a journal, like Agenda, you can check out their recent articles and see what some of the major issues of today might be. From there you might be able to create a thesis and use this new-found information as evidence.
In conclusion, if you know exactly what you want to research and need to find matching evidence, go to E-Resource Gateway. If you want to get some more inspiration and narrow your focus, go to E-Journals Title List.