[Brussels, 9 December 2013] In the framework of the European Women’s Lobby - Council of Europe joint project : "Act against rape! Use the Istanbul Convention!", different events have taken place: Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Macedonia, Romania, Italy, UK, Turkey and Iceland.
The aim of this project is to mobilise Europe against rape and to promote the Istanbul Convention. Everywhere in Europe we are urgently demanding justice and support for victims of rape. The Istanbul convention) is being promoted as a concrete tool for change to eradicate all forms of male violence against women, including rape.
On the 3rd of December, proFrem o.p.s. organised a press conference and a round table at premises of the Senate of the Czech Republic on the topic of Violence against women, specifically rape and the adoptionof the Istanbul Convention. The press Conference was opened by the Vice-President of the Senate Alena Gajdůšková.
Among the participants at the round table were representatives of the city hall, local police, NGOs, professionals providing support to victims of rape. Among the topics debated, the deficiencies in the provision of services to victims and the secondary victimization during the criminal proceedings were highlighted. The positive changes that the signature and ratification of the Istanbul Convention would bring towards the eradication of sexual violence were highlighted.
In the Czech Republic one to two rapes per day are officially recorded – it is assumed that rape is reported only in 8% of the cases”, EWL Barometer on rape 2013.
ProFem calls on the urgent signature and ratification of the Istanbul Convention.
On the 4th of December, public events to raise awareness on the phenomenon of rape were held in Finland, Greece, Ireland, Macedonia and Romaniato promote the Istanbul Convention as a tool for change.
In Finland, a panel discussion was held in Helsinki organised by Nytkis. The Istanbul Convention has been strongly on Nytkis’ political agenda this year. On the International Day for the Elimination of VAW, 25.11, Nytkis carried out 63 events all around Finland where they raised awareness on the need of shelters (crucial question in Finland) in connection to Istanbul Convention. On the 4th of December, Nytkis held a public event in relation to the European Parliament elections next spring. The first part was dedicated to the 50/50 Campaign, the need for parity democracy and equal political participation of women and men. The second part of the event was dedicated to the Istanbul Convention. The main theme discussed was the need to adapt the legal definition of rape to the Istanbul Convention which will ensure that the lack of consent is the constituent element of crime, moving away from the requirement of use of physical force. Therefore, the ratification of the Istanbul Convention is considered as a crucial step towards the eradication of violence against women and rape. More information at website of the facebook event and nytkis website: http://www.nytkis.org/index.php?k=15485.
In Greece, the Coordination of Greek Women’s NGOs for the EWL, held a Conference "Act against rape!Use the Instanbul Convention". The Minister of Internal Affairs, the Representative of the Minister of Justice, the General Secretary on equality, the Greek Obusman, Parliamentarians, women NGO’s, journalists, more than 120 women and men were present to share the common will to eliminate violence using the Instanbul Convention. The Key speaker was a very well known criminologist and professor in the University of Athens.
A video of the event is available here:
In Ireland, the National Women’s Council of Ireland, NWCI, and the Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women held a seminar and launch to mark the publication and launch of their new document “Violence Against Women: An Issue of Gender” aimed at highlighting the issue of gender in analysing and responding to violence against women.
The document was launched by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, during the 16 days of action, part of a European wide strategy to highlight the need to implement the Convention.
The panel discussion was chaired by Justine McCarthy. Speakers on the panel included Greg Heylin, Director, COSC; Jim Clarken, CEO, Oxfam; Margaret Martin, Director, Women’s Aid.
In Ireland, one in five women will experience rape or gender based violence at one point in their lifetime. The SAVI report tells us that some 42% of women have experienced some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime.
There can be no real equality between women and men if women experience gender-based violence on a large-scale and state agencies and institutions turn a blind eye.
The Observatory called on for Ireland to sign, ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, to eradicate all forms of violence against women, specifically rape.
Ireland must sign, ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention to eradicate all forms of male violence against women, specifically rape.
Orla O’ Connor Director of NWCI said,
“There can be no real equality between women and men if women experience gender-based violence on a large-scale, and state agencies and institutions turn a blind eye. The Council of Europe Convention is a benchmark at international level, and Ireland must show its commitment to eradicating all forms of male violence against women by signing, ratifying and implementing the Convention as a matter of urgency.”
See more at the following link.
In Macedonia, the Macedonian Women’s Lobby organised a debate was focusing on the issues related to sexual violence including rape, however the need for immediate ratification of the Istanbul Convention was stressed not only as a tool to prevent sexual violence as gender based violence but to offer a huge spectrum of prevention and prosecution of such violence. Ms. Daniela Dimitrievska, executive director of Macedonian women’s lobby presented the EWL-CoE joint project Act against rape! Use the Istanbul Convention!. Ms. Dimitrijevska also gave a short overview of the standards regarding sheltering the victims of sexual violence and rape using different legal acts ( Council of Europe, European Commission and UN Woman) as benchmarks for standardized services.
Ms. Sofija Spasovska Advisor at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy had presentation regarding the process for ratification of the Convention. She also shared information with the participants that the government of the Republic of Macedonia recently enacted decision for drafting of a new for Prevention of Domestic Violence. Judge Cvetanka Peric – Appellate Court in Skopje discussed the criminal proceedings applied to victims of sexual violence and rape. Member of Parliament Ms. Liljana Popovska gave examples of ratification processes for several different conventions and she made a parallel with the needs for the ratification of Council of Europe Convention on Prevention of VAW and DV. She also ensured the participants that she will take active role in the ratification process as member of the Parliament and as President of the Parliamentary Commission for equal opportunities between man and woman. Representative from National Council for gender equality gave small information about the project/campaign "Sign" - ”Coordinated Efforts - Toward new European Standards in Protection of Women from Gender Based Violence".
More information in Macedonian: here.
4 December, the Community Safety and Mediation Centre and the Romanian Women’s Lobby held an event at the at Romanian Parliament House with participation of MPs, press and ministries representatives, under the slogan “Acționează împotriva violului! Folosește Convenția de la Istanbul!”. Several topics were debated, as for example: the Legislative initiatives in Romania in the protection of women against violence Presentation of the main provisions of the Istanbul Convention and the situation regarding the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by the Romanian stat and the reality regarding the national services support women victims of violence, with focus on sexual violence.
A second event took place same day afternoon with the participation of over 25 NGOs representatives from national level, covering services and advocacy NGOs working in the field of protection of women against gender based violence.
On the 5 December 2013, at the Office of the European Parliament in Rome, the Italian Coordination to the European Women’s Lobby organised an event to sensitize on the importance of an adequate implementation of the Istanbul Convention as a tool to eradicate violence against women including rape. The subtitle was: “Stupro de l’Aquila: un banco di prova per l’attuazione dei principi della Convenzione”: Lef-Italia and its expert to the EWL Observatory, Oria Garganom have decided to frame the event in relation to an Appeal Process for a case of very violent rape that would take place the following day at l’Aquila (Abruzzo Region). Since Italy has already signed and ratified (June 2013) the Convention and has recently adopted a package of laws in matters of feminicide and violence against women (August 2013), LEF Italy thought to bind the EWL and CoE Rape Joint Project into a to very concrete event with twofold purposes: to raise awareness on rape and to act as a lobbying action towards the l’Aquila Appeal Process.
Lef-Italia invited as guest speakers: MEP Silvia Costa who outlined the great work of the Femm Commettee in advancing EU gender legislation and policies. The Lawyers Siusi Casaccia (LEF-Italia President), Franca Mina (Forum delle Giuriste), Carla Quinto (Bee Free), Maria Claudia Ruggeri and Simona Giannangeli (defense lawyers of the raped girl of l’Aquila) described the difficulties of implementation of the measures provided for by the law due to the length of processes and to the burocracy related to the judicial system in Italy. All the lawyers present highlighted the lack of training of judges and law enforcement agencies within the provisions of the new antiviolence package of laws. Moreover they agreed in pointing out: the punitive nature of the law itself, the absence of intervention on the cultural aspects of violence and its prevention. Elisabetta Parmegiani mother of the raped girl stressed the importance of the event organized by LEF-Italia outlining claiming that the l’Aquila Appeal process would be a test for the implementation of the Istanbul Convention in Italy.
On the same day, 5 December, the Rape Crisis Scotland and Engender discussed whether implementing the Istanbul Convention is a useful lobbying goal for the women’s sector in Scotland. This short discussion event provided an opportunity for women’s organisations to be briefed on the Istanbul Convention and possibilities for its use as a lobbying tool in Scotland, and to discuss possibilities for individual, organizational, or joint activism around it. During the discussion, it was highlighted that the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (also known as the Istanbul Convention) is a concrete tool for change to eradicate all forms of male violence against women, specifically rape.
On the 4th and the 5th of December, the Rape Crisis Scotland published a range of new self-care resources for survivors. These are twelve new leaflets offer information, tips and links on Self-harm, Dissociation, Sexual health, Flashbacks, Suicidal thoughts & feelings, Anger, Healing from sexual violence, Trauma, Nightmares & sleep problems, Panic attacks, Relationships, and Coping after sexual violence.
The new resources can be downloaded at http://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/publications/resources/.
On the 6 of December, at the Ceremony of the Stigamot awards, Stigamot has found “The Fund of truth” and has promoted The Istanbul Convention as a tool of change to eradicate rape and violence against women. The "fund of truth" has been created thanks to the contribution of anonymus women who have collected money to ensure that women who speak out about rape will be able to do so, without being afraid of being sued. Women have been sentenced to pay fines of millions of krona if they have deared to talk about the violence that they have been subjected to. The Fund of Truth aims to
On the 6th December at 14:00, Kamer Foundation held the first meeting at the Governor’s office in Diyarbakir. Between the 6th and the 10th December, Kamer Foundation and all its centers in the region of Southeast and Eastern Anatolia have held a series of meetings with the Governors of 23 provinces in order to raise awareness and sensitivity on the issue of rape and call for the adequate implementation of the Istanbul Convention. The key messages of the Action Kit and the EWL Barometer on rape in Europe in 2013 was provided in Turkish to the Governors.
This week between the 9 and 13 December, public events have been organised in Serbia, Estonia, Hungary, Cyprus, Latvia and Poland. Stay tuned for more information soon in our website.