More European funds to fight gender violence

In many cultures the pomegranate symbolizes women. For this reason, the artist Haleh Chinikar has used it to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Brussels. Titled “Making the Invisible Visible,” the performance is a reminder that assaults are usually committed indoors.

The number of reported cases has skyrocketed during confinement, around 50% more on Belgium’s helplines. Governments have implemented emergency measures and activists ask to keep the aid.

“Complementary measures have been put in place and now women’s and feminist associations are fighting to make them permanent. In fact, the crisis has helped advance some points that we have been demanding for years, for example, with more places in the shelters for victims, expanding the possibilities of listening to their complaints and doing it not only by phone but with other means such as chat or SMS. All of this is very good but it has to become permanent because violence against women will not magically disappear once we find a vaccine against Covid, “explained Irene Zeilinger of the NGO Garance.

Worldwide, the UN ensures that there are 243 million victims between the ages of 15 and 49. This violence has an economic cost of 1.3 trillion euros, equivalent to 2% of world GDP. But it is only the tip of the iceberg. Less than 40% of cases are reported, usually to friends and family, and only 10% reach the police.

An EU agency calls for it to be a priority for governments in recovery plans.

“My plea is that you understand the situation in your country, do a really good gender analysis, understand where people go when they are victims of domestic violence, train the professionals to address this properly, and also check if there are enough services available. If they see that there could be an increase in domestic violence, there should be enough shelters, there should be enough beds and enough support, “asked Carlien Scheele, director of the European Institute for Gender Equality.

The EU institutions have joined the United Nations request to illuminate the world’s most important buildings in orange for an awareness campaign with events that will take place over 16 days. But six member states (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia) have not yet ratified the Istanbul Convention. This is the first legally binding instrument at the international level to combat violence against women.