The EWL in June 2011 published the inaugural edition of its e-magazine, the European Women’s Voice. The fist issue of this thematic publication was dedicated to Violence against Women, and its dissemination corresponded with the Annual Conference of the EWL on this same theme.
by Rada Boric, member of the Executive Committee of the EWL
It is a great pleasure for me, on behalf of all members of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), to introduce to you the very first edition of the European Women’s Voice, the online thematic publication of the EWL, dedicated to research and analysis articles on a given issue. We have decided to focus the first edition of the European Women’s Voice on violence against women, an issue at the core of our activities and those of our membership, which identified the struggle against all forms of male violence against women as the number one priority of the EWL over 2011-2015. Indeed, violence against women remains the most pervasive violation of women’s human rights worldwide and in all countries of the European Union (EU). Every day, seven women die from male domestic violence in the EU. The EWL consistently calls for decisive action to put an end to this phenomenon on the part of the EU, which should take a leadership role in protecting human rights, including women’s rights.
The aim of this edition of the European Women’s Voice is to present an update of a diversity of research and analysis addressing violence against women in the EU. The following pages demonstrate how women’s rights face new challenges and new forms of violence against women have appeared, but also how women’s organisations are building new horizons of action towards a Europe free from male violence against women. Testimonies and projects will open your eyes to hidden forms of violence against women, despite the illusion of a general awareness of the issue in Europe, and demonstrate the need for persistent and everyday vigilance and action on the part of decision-makers. In addition, the articles of the European Women’s Voice will provide insight into the structural nature of violence against women and highlight its deep roots in our patriarchal societies, arguing for structural solutions.
There is political momentum at the EU level for European action to end violence against women: the European Commission has committed to delivering an EU strategy and action plan, and both the European Parliament and the Council of the EU have repeatedly stated their demands for an EU policy framework on combating violence against women. The EWL has been calling for years for such a comprehensive policy framework building on the international human rights definitions of violence against women. Such a framework should encompass legally-
binding instruments to criminally address all forms of violence against women and strengthen the protection of all women, a European Year on ending violence against women to raise awareness and foster prevention, as well as substantial and sustainable EU funding to support service providers and build partnership with dedicated NGOs.
While the EU has taken the lead over the last fifty years in promoting women’s rights related to employment, a strong common policy on violence against women is still missing. We hope that the political work of civil society organisations and growing evidence of the gravity of this phenomenon will lead to renewed political courage to develop strong and comprehensive policies towards the realisation of a Europe free from all forms of male violence against all women. I hope that you will enjoy the intellectual challenge of the articles that follow, and that reading through them will convince you of the urgency of action and play a guiding role in defining engaged policies, both at European and national levels.
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