Carmen Grigelmo, WeMove Europe Senior Campaigner
I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to Marta Asensio for her solidarity and courage in sharing her story here, but also for her tireless efforts to combat drug-facilitated sexual assault in Spain.
In my speech, I want to focus on the strong citizen mobilisation led by feminists in Europe and around the world. Starting with Spain, a well-known case of gang rape caused a deep debate in Spanish society and within the government. Thanks to years of feminist mobilization, we have seen significant improvements in Spain’s laws against sexual violence, with an emphasis on consent-based approaches. Moreover, migrant women working in the fields, who have bravely denounced the abuses they suffered from their employers, have highlighted the essential intersectionality of the feminist struggle, particularly in terms of anti-racism and the migrant perspective.
We have also the example of Polish women, who played a key role in disrupting the far right in the recent elections and have changed their country forever by standing up for free and safe abortion. In both France and Germany, we will deliver in the next weeks more than 250,000 signatures to the government from citizens from all the countries in Europe, urging for a comprehensive law against violence against women at EU level that put the consent at the centre and remove any barriers to the principle of "only YES means YES" in the directive.
On a global level, we have succeeded in ending the blocking of the accession of the Istanbul Convention across the EU, achieving the first common tool to fight violence against women in Europe.
The feminist struggle is demonstrating its power. Is a light of hope, despite the patriarchal and authoritarian structures that exist in our institutions.
To conclude, I would like to address the issue of rape as a weapon of war, a serious violation recognized by the United Nations. Beyond the European Union, this struggle is a global one, and we have a responsibility to work in solidarity with women in armed conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America who resist sexual violence in these challenging contexts.
Violence against women persists worldwide with the same objective: to silence women and keep us in a subordinate position. But we are showing, we will not allow this to continue because no woman will be truly free until all women are free.