The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) marks an important day for the lives of women who have suffered egregious human rights violations and still to this day, battle to be free from violence
Violence against women has been a barrier towards gender equality, and those who dare to speak up are faced with continuous aggression. The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) states that: ‘violence against women means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life’ (Article 1). The endless violent intrusions in a woman’s life are caused by root problems such as cultural patterns, injurious influences of traditional practices and other social influences.
Karen Ellemann, Minister for Equal Opportunities, made the following statement on behalf of Committee:
“Violence against women and girls is the most common violation of the human rights of women, in Europe and beyond. It affects women of all ages, and from any social or economic background, sometimes at the cost of their lives. More must be done to eliminate this scourge from our societies.
Combating all forms of violence against women and girls has long been a key priority for the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) is the most far-reaching international treaty to tackle this serious violation of human rights. Denmark, which ratified the Convention in 2014, is fully committed to its implementation and calls on all member States, which have not yet done so to ratify it.
Violence and sexual harassment of women in public spaces are also strongly condemned by the Istanbul Convention. Violence in crowds and digital sexual abuse are other dimensions of violence against women and wide-spread global problems which needs to be tackled. Violence in public spaces and online might restrict women’s freedom of speech. These violations need to be reported and call for a comprehensive response.”
With the CoE Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) the international community took a radical step, facing up to its responsibility to protect women. But there is a long road ahead in implementing its human rights guarantees.
Active women’s rights movements have been crucial to giving women a voice, and their endeavours to seek for justice are a shining beacon in our society. Combined with the efforts of the CoE, we can only hope in generations to come that violence against women will be wiped off the face of the earth.
‘A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy: a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim’
By our research student