Message of SIW President on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

STOP THE WAR AGAINST WOMEN

25 November 2014

On the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, I would like to invite you to join the Socialist International Women (SIW) and take action to end violence against women.

Violence against women is the most extreme form of discrimination against women. It is an appalling phenomenon that occurs all over the world and across all social-economic groups. It includes psychological or sexual violence, rape as a weapon of war, female genital mutilation, femicide, forced marriage and the trafficking of women. Such violence has physical, mental, sexual, and health consequences on women and girls. It also has huge repercussions on the families and the community, and undermines the economic, social and democratic development of societies.

The statistics on violence against women are shocking. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1 in 3 women worldwide will experience physical or sexual violence at some point in her life. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that in 2012, 1 in 2 women killed worldwide were killed by their partners and family.

Violence against women is simply unacceptable and should no longer be tolerated. We must reconfirm our commitment to eradicate all forms of violence against women and ensure justice and support is given to survivors. We must demand accountability for the violations and take concrete steps to end impunity.

Ending violence against women is central to the work of SIW. At our last regional meeting in Luanda, Angola, in April 2014, SIW launched in conjunction with its fraternal organisation, the Socialist international (SI), a global campaign on ending violence against women. Ending violence against women was also highlighted in the ‘SIW’s Vision for the Post-2015 Development Agenda’ paper as the issue that requires the most urgent attention, if we are to make gender equality a global reality. Through numerous resolutions and declarations, SIW has been able to mobilise its member organisations to denounce acts of violence and to make the public aware of the measures to be taken at all levels.

But so much more is still required. Ending violence against women is possible but the international community needs to work together to challenge the attitudes that lead to violence, oppression, and inequality. Relevant regional and international treaties need to be ratified and enforced. Laws that prohibit violence against women and that ensure effective punishments of offenses need to be implemented. More resources need to be allocated towards the health, education, and welfare of women. Public awareness of the problem through traditional media, as well as through social media and other electronic channels need to be increased. Men and boys must be mobilised against violence through educational programmes. Greater support must be provided to survivors of violence and their families, including legal assistance, psychological counselling, and health care.

On this International Day, I urge you to take responsibility and take action to ending violence against women. We must all work together to build a world where women and girls can live free of violence, a world where their fundamental rights are respected, and where they can achieve their potential and participate fully in society. Let’s end violence against women and girls once and for all.

 

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