25 November – International Day for the Elimination of
Violence against Women
“Violence against women and girls is violence against the whole humankind, and should have no place in Europe or elsewhere in the world“ – Federica Mogherini
These are the powerful opening words of the statement of the EU High Representative and Vice-President on the very eve of 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The UN General Assembly designated this specific date so as to honour the Mirabal sisters, three political activists who were brutally assassinated in the Dominican Republic in 1960 by order of the then country’s ruler.
In today’s societies the number of victims of violence against women, which is defined as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”, is still unacceptably high.
It is estimated that over 35% of women experience either physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of their partner, or a non-partner, in their lifetime; moreover, globally as many as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners. In the European Union every second woman has been confronted with one or more forms of sexual harassment, while one in five women has experienced stalking.
Putting an end to violence against women and girls, as well as to the culture the fostering it, is a fundamental prerequisite for fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as one of the top priorities of the EU External Action. More specifically, the European Union has put in place legislative instruments and comprehensive programmes aimed at protecting women from gender-based violence, including the Victims’ Rights Directive, the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe and the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme. At international level, it also supports and promotes a large number of initiatives combatting female genital mutilation, child marriage and trafficking in human beings (whose 72% of the victims are women and girls).
On this day of remembrance and activism, the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels and the European Parliament’s building in Strasbourg will be lit up in orange, while in Luxembourg the Ministry of Equal Opportunities has launched the “Orange week” to raise awareness of this urgent public health and human rights issue.
Statement issued by Federica Mogherini on 22 November 2019 https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/STATEMENT_19_6300
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 48/104 of 20 December 1993, article 1 https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/ViolenceAgainstWomen.aspx
World Health Organization (2013): Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/85239/9789241564625_eng.pdf;jsessionid=C7342FA0A9A457A0676B7BB8B802A22B?sequence=1
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2014): Violence against women: an EU-wide survey https://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra_uploads/fra-2014-vaw-survey-main-results-apr14_en.pdf
Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA, OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 57–73 https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32012L0029
Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence https://www.coe.int/en/web/conventions/full-list/-/conventions/treaty/210
Full programme of the Orange Week 2019 https://www.cnfl.lu/actualites/news/programme-complet-de-la-campagne-orange-week/
IATE entry (https://iate.europa.eu/entry/result/890948/en-all)
Viola Librenti holds a BA in Intercultural Communication and a MA in Conference Interpreting from the University of Bologna. She has studied and worked in Italy, Germany and the UK and is currently a trainee in the Italian Translation Unit of the European Parliament in Luxembourg. She has a background in terminology and technical translation and loves travelling, cooking and photography.