The struggle to eradicate violence against women is intertwined with the struggle to create a society free from all exploitation and inequality
25th November 2019
Article by AKEL MEP G. Georgiou
On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we hear big talk and declarations, but also complacent statements. The reality, however, reveals the true nature of a system that generates and feeds exploiters.
Violence against women has become the principal cause of disability and death for women. In Europe, 1 in 3 women have suffered violent attacks. Of course, these numbers do not include the militant voices of those women who have been silenced by society.
There are numerous forms of violence, some visible and others hidden. Patriarchy is a form of violence which as a system safeguards the victims of violence, displaces victims from the justice system and attempts to cover up every sexual harassment scandal.
The imposition of austerity measures, the dismantling of the welfare state and the absence of services to provide support for working mothers is another form of violence. It is also the wage gap for work of equal value which stands at 16.3% in the EU and 13.9% in Cyprus, as well as the gap in pensions, which stands at 35.7% in the EU and 41.1% in Cyprus.
The violation of the right of access to disease prevention programs, such as cancer, and access to other quality health services is yet another form of violence against women.
Violence is also the system’s indifference towards immigrant women.
Violence is the communication games and empty talk on equality which the EU unceasingly engages in to hide the absence of a comprehensive policy on equality.
Violence is the European Council’s refusal to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which provides for a holistic approach to violence against women.
The exceptions that many states ask for from the implementation of the Istanbul Convention, including Cyprus as well, in essence meaning a substantial weakening in the protection of victims is a form of violence.
Violence against women is a social curse with women as its victim with negative side-effects throughout society as a whole. The responsibility for this crime being committed lies with the perpetrators and those who tolerate it.
As AKEL, together with the Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left, we are struggling against all forms of violence. Among other things, we call on governments to abandon every exception and ratify the Istanbul Convention immediately. We demand the establishment of a multilevel network that will truly protect and support women victims of violence. We demand the elaboration and implementation of a comprehensive National Action Plans to address in a coherent and extensive way violence against women. At the same time, we stress that the intensification of preventive actions is equally important.
As the AKEL delegation in the European Parliament, we have raised before the European Council, via the urgency procedure, the need for the EU’s universal access to the Istanbul Convention and demand its immediate ratification. We also asked the Commission to give a reply as to why it has not yet proceeded to the formulation of a holistic strategy for gender equality, but also why it hasn’t dared submit a Directive for the combatting of violence against women that should ensure the incorporation of the Istanbul Convention into European law. We are waiting for replies and, if necessary, we shall raise the matter up for discussion in the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).
On the occasion of the resumption of the work of the European Parliament, together with the Progressive Women’s Movement of POGO Cyprus, we had a meeting with the Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies, the Association for the Prevention and Response to Domestic Violence and the Cyprus Lobby, reaffirming our determination to wage together the struggle to combat all forms of violence and discrimination against women.
The struggle to eradicate violence against women is intertwined with the struggle to create a society free from all exploitation and inequality. And we shall wage this struggle to the very end.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
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