Statement - International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
25 November 2012
A day for the elimination of violence against women first began in 1981 when women activist started commemorating 25 November as the day that three sisters, from the Dominican Republic, were brutally assassinated for their political activism in 1960. It was formally designated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by the UN General Assembly in 1999
It is a day for governments, international organisations and NGOs to raise awareness of the fact that up to three quarters of women worldwide will still experience violence in their lifetime. UN country data shows the global incidence of physical and sexual violence against women ranges from between 15 and 76 percent of women depending on where they live. Most violence is within intimate relationships, and from 9 to 70 percent of women their husband or partner is the perpetrator.
For Socialist International Women, such violence against women is the most extreme form of discrimination against them. It is a brutal means of domination and oppression in societies still dominated by a patriarchal system. For Socialist International Women the best way of preventing violence is our long-standing campaign, from 1907, for gender equality.
Therefore we strongly support step 10 of the policy agenda of the UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet: to invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment to tackle the root causes of violence against women and girls, in particular increasing women’s political and economic participation and leadership.
Socialist International Women welcomes UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon statement that ‘All too often, perpetrators go unpunished. Women and girls are afraid to speak out because of a culture of impunity. We must fight the sense of fear and shame that punishes victims who have already endured crime and now face stigma. It is the perpetrators who should feel disgraced, not their victims’. To this end, we call on all governments and international organisations to request expeditious justice, reparation from harm and the severe punishment of the perpetrators of violence and those who have passively colluded with them.
Violence against women includes psychological or economic violence, rape as a weapon of war, female genital mutilation, femicide, forced marriage and the trafficking of women. Consequently we believe that social democratic governments must take on a leadership role to prevent rape being used as a weapon of war, by ensuring that the laws of war are equally enforced for women, in particular that the gender perspective of Security Council Resolution 1325 is enforced during repatriation and resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction.
And we urge all governments to take firm legislative measures, in cooperation with women's organisations, NGOs and concerned international organisations, designed to forbid the practise of female genital mutilation and protect potential victims.
Finally, in anticipation of the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2013 in New York, to address ‘the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls’, Socialist International Women urges the United Nations and its Secretary General to enable UN Women to make articles 4 and 5 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women a priority UN action.