The EU must break its silence on violence against women
One in five European women has been the victim of domestic violence.
Most societies prohibit violence against women. But too often it is covered up or tacitly condoned and so the violence continues unabated in every continent, country and culture. The European Parliament should help break this silence.
EU support would help put the spotlight on the problem. Our written declaration in the Parliament aims to accomplish this – its adoption would give the full backing of the Parliament for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (Unifem) in its effort to stop violence against women.
Nicole Kidman, a Unifem goodwill ambassador, urges all members of the Parliament to sign the written declaration on the ‘Say no to violence against women’ campaign because it can help change policies and bring services and resources to survivors.
For women aged 15-44, violence is a major cause of death and disability. A 1994 study based on World Bank data shows that for these women, rape and domestic violence is a higher risk factor than cancer, road accidents, war and malaria.
Figures for Europe show that at least one in five women has been the victim of male violence in intimate relationships.
Violence against women impoverishes individuals, families and communities, reducing the economic development of every nation. According to the UK Government Equalities Office, the cost of domestic violence alone amounts in the UK to €6.9 billion each year.
Women have a right to a life free of violence. Many people agree with us: five million individuals have already signed up to the Unifem campaign.
Inés Alberdi, Executive director, Unifem
Eva-Britt Svensson MEP
Myria Vassiliadou, Secretary-general, European Women’s Lobby