Today marks the day where we recognize the International day for Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993. This declaration defines all violence against women as an act of gender-based violence that results in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women.
Gender based violence continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as fulfillment of women and girls human rights.
Recently there is a rapid increase in recognition of cases of domestic violence from all over the world and they are making headlines. Cases such as the Khachaturyan sisters who killed their father for years of sexual and emotional abuse, acid attacks on Afghan women from the provinces and the alarming increase of domestic abuse in Britain
One in four women is subjected to physical abuse by her spouse at some point in her life, which means we all know someone who lives with the threat of abuse.
Domestic violence reaches every part of our society, it has no class, race, religion, culture or financial status. From a famous celebrity making millions, or a billionaire business woman to a regular working mom, they are all just as likely to be subjected for abuse.
Violence against women is an issue that should be addressed on all levels, from government institutions, police force, health and housing departments. Yet there are still many countries who have not implemented laws against domestic violence, such as Iran, Egypt, Russia, Pakistan and the list goes on.
Countries that lack laws against domestic violence are likely to experience domestic violence as high as more than 300 cases per day.
According to Liesl Gerntholtz the executive director of the Women’s Rights Division at the Humans Rights Watch, the issue of domestic violence has historically been ignored by governments and also underreported by women. Afghanistan bares an example in this matter, despite implementing the Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW), the criminal justice courts in Afghanistan have not made any significant progress in registering cases of domestic abuse.
Gerntholtz emphasizes that it is crucial for countries to implement a legislation targeting domestic abuse.
Since ordinary criminal law doesn’t outlaw violence and further domestic abuse would also be addressed as a crime.
On the good side there is being a significant progress made in recent years where increased awareness of domestic violence has improved. The media, victims of domestic violence and other stakeholders are taking a stand against gender based violence. Yet the biggest challenge still remains, creating transparent government institutions that protect and safeguard women so they can report violence, have shelters for protection and where action is taken in their cases
Source: Huffpost, BBC, HRW
Photo by: Fateme Hasanie