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Violence against Women Is Everywhere!

Violence against women is omnipresent: at the workplace, at home, in public and onFemin the Internet. The report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published in March 2014 is based on research into direct violence and reveals the magnitude and scale of this kind of violence.

One third of all women in EU 28 (62 million) have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since they were 15 years old. One third of all women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their childhood committed by an adult. Nearly one quarter of all women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their partnership. Almost 9 million (five percent) have been raped since they were 15 years old. More than 40 percent of women are or were exposed to physical violence. Nearly every fifth woman has experienced stalking since she was 15 years old. Twenty percent of young women are victims of online-harassment. More than half of all women have experienced sexual harassment in their workplaces. Almost two thirds of women have not reported to the police or any other organisation even the most serious incidents of violence in their partnerships. Hundreds of thousands of women are trafficked in Europe for sex exploitation, and the procurers are seldom punished, while the customers in most of the countries not at all.

Violence against women is patriarchy’s everyday weapon to make women look small, to humiliate, to oppress them. Violence against women includes state-violence. And in all wars, the archaic as well as in the allegedly modern high-tech-wars, sexual violence is used as an instrument of warfare. Based on current events we denounce the most heinous patriarchal crimes of abduction, forced marriages, rape and women being sold and enslaved by marauding fundamentalists and ISIS.

Physical, sexual and psychical violence against women is a serious violation of human rights. The needs and rights of victims of violence must be taken into account for real. The report clearly indicates that a widely ranging strategy for combatting violence against women is urgently needed. Paper can wait, the practice of political and civil society decision-makers must not wait any longer.

Also indirect violence functions day by day. It is the hinge keeping up male dominance for a system of exploitation and discrimination of women on a global scale. Double and triple burden of work, unequal treatment, un(der)paid work, sexism, trafficking of women, exclusion of women from central decision-making political and social institutions and organisations, exclusion of refugees and their children are only the most visible indicators of structural relations of violence and contempt for women.

We need to say: Violence against women is war – a secret and silent one. We demand a de-individualisation of problems of violence! It is the responsibility of society and politics to tackle violence against women.

We claim the right for each and every woman to her physical, mental and psychical integrity!

On the special occasion of 25 November 2014, EL-FEM, the feminist network of the European Left, says:

Each woman experiencing violence is one too many!

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