International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW) and the start of the 16 days of activism to end VAW. On this occasion, we join the call of European Women’s Lobby to sign the Rise Up against violence petition supported by WeMove Europe. We are urging the EU and all European countries to make Europe a safe place for all women and girls.
SIGN THE PETITION HERE
Why is this important?
Male violence against women and girls is a long-term systemic issue across Europe. It is the most pervasive violation of women’s human rights, rooted in our societies’ culture of sexism. It has life-long implications for women’s physical and mental health.
This is an emergency situation threatening the security and dignity of women’s lives that precedes the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The situation has even worsened during the COVID pandemic: lockdown and isolation measures have created an enabling environment for abusers and have lead to more incidents of physical, psychological and sexual violence.
During this pandemic crisis, women victims/survivors of male violence have had less access to help and protection. They have faced further isolation which can have serious mental consequences, especially for women facing multiple forms of discrimination.
There can be no peace and security while women fear for their safety in their homes, workplaces and in public spaces across Europe.
What can we do?
Good laws can change whole societies, and the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, is to date the most advanced legal framework to end violence against women and girls. It gives our states powerful binding tools to provide protection, prosecute perpetrators, and prevent different forms of violence that millions of women encounter every day 1.
The EU signed the Convention in 2017, but a signature is not enough – to be effective, the convention must be ratified and applied broadly. Unfortunately, for a few years now, the negotiations between the EU countries have been blocked.
Although all 27 EU Member States have signed the Istanbul Convention, six countries—Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania—still haven’t ratified it. Moreover, in July 2020, the Polish government announced its intention to withdraw from the Convention. This is of great concern for all women in Europe who, now more than ever, need to see strong concerted EU action against male violence against women and girls.
We urge the EU and all European countries to adopt strong legislation to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual exploitation and online violence, and to implement the standards of the Istanbul Convention.
We call on EU decision-makers to step up their efforts, in times of crisis and beyond, to ensure no women or girl is left behind and to disrupt the full continuum of violence against women and girls.
We also call on the EU to ensure adequate funding to address the emergency situation with regards to violence against women and girls, by ensuring that the Multi annual Financial Framework (MFF) and the New Generation EU fund provide adequate resources for women civil society organisations working on ending male VAWG and supporting its victims.
This year, despite the limitations, we will join the 16 days of activism once again to say loudly and firmly that women want to live a life free from violence and from the fear of it.
Raise your voice and join the almost 190,000 signers to our petition by signing it here.