Need to face up to structural nature of male violence against women, says European Women's Lobby
If the future convention of the Council of Europe fails to address the structural phenomenon of male violence against women, the European Women's Lobby won't be in a position to support it.
A few days before a new meeting of the CAHVIO (Ad Hoc Committee on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence) in Strasbourg (22-24 February), the European Women's Lobby (EWL) delivers a strong message to all Council of Europe countries. An observer to the CAHVIO, the EWL extends to more than 2500 organisations in all EU member states and candidate countries as well as to 21 European-wide organisations.
"What is at stake is the political recognition of the structural violence perpetrated by men against women in our societies through a legally-binding international convention", EWL President Brigitte Triems explains. "In the last CAHVIO meetings, we clearly saw some national delegations trying to dilute or associate violence against women with the gender neutral concept of ‘domestic violence'. Do we need to give figures again and again of women victims of the different forms of male violence? The United Nations has made it clear in fundamental international instruments, like the Beijing Platform for Action and the CEDAW Committee's general recommendation Nr. 19, that gender-based violence against women is violence perpetrated against women because they are women and that gender-based violence is a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women's ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men. As long as it is not tackled and denounced as s uch, women will keep on suffering from the structurally tolerated inequality and discrimination they face in our patriarchal systems."
At the end of January, the EWL delivered its proposal for amendments to articles 1 to 27 of the draft convention. "We support a strong convention addressing all forms of male violence against women and providing with concrete means to eradicate this shameful scourge", says Brigitte Triems.