Why do anything to prevent violence against women if you can just talk about it?
Does the date November 25 sound familiar? Does it ring a bell? It is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is a day of protest marches, lectures, workshops... maybe even a special session of the Knesset Lobby for the Prevention of Violence Against Women. Have you thought of attending any of those events? Before you make your plans, let's think this through again.
We have been struggling for decades against the gender based violence, in its different forms: sexual, physical, verbal, economic; in the family, at work, on social networks, at places of entertainment, at educational institutions. For the last twenty years we have also marked it once a year with a special day established by the UN. One of the main reasons to mark the struggle for the elimination of violence against women with a special international day was the understanding that violence against women crosses national borders. The hope was that such a day would contribute to raising awareness and thereby marshaling the multiple political and social actors needed to defeat the phenomenon. One day a year on which a collective cry of outrage would be heard, leading all of the systems and parties to understand the gravity of the situation and its consequences, and thus leading them to take action so that women and girls could live in this world without fear or concern for their life and their bodies.
Has the violence been defeated? The increase in the level of domestic violence during the months of COVID-19, the rapes that make headlines now and again, the recurring murders of women by their intimate partners or relatives (this year alone men murdered 20 women in Israel, just because they were women) – are proof that despite the great cry sounded all over the world, violence is still an inseparable part of women's lives. Despite the incessant talk about the subject and the broad awareness, violence goes on and there are no signs it is subsiding.
There's so much talk about the importance of eliminating violence against women, but it seems that that is all there is – just talk. Talk that obscures and hides the fact that decision-makers in the government and other authorities who need to take action – change priorities, allocate resources, adopt effective modes of action – are not doing so.
Those of us who fight against violence against women every day of the year, every year, do not need a special day to act. When will decision-makers understand this as well?
A full version of the article has been published on The Readeress website.
Published: November 24, 2020
Photo: Daniel Jonas