Together for the elimination of violence against women
"My husband came home drunk and started kicking our door. We locked ourselves inside with my younger daughter. My older daughter was having a shower. The little one jumped out of the window, but I stayed - I did not want to leave my other child behind. I let my husband inside so that my other daughter could escape through the main entrance. When he stormed in, he started hitting me, strangling me, kicking me and he was shouting that he would kill me. Then suddenly, I could break free from him and I started running after my girls. At the end of the street, there was a phone booth and we called the police from there. They arrived and we returned to our house. By that time, the house was empty. My husband had left. I don't know where he went, but he only returned the next afternoon. I denounced him. A few days later, I was summoned to court. There, a policeman in a higher position suggested that I withdraw my denunciation, because I will be better off like that. I believed him and took his advice. I withdrew it." Quoted from Henrietta Nagy: Domestic Violence.
Every year, tens of thousands of women, children and men fall victim to domestic violence. Domestic violence can take several forms: most often, it is physical, sexual, emotional, mental torture and can also manifest itself in the limitation of the victim's friendships, family relationships or financial matters.
By domestic violence, we mean those cases when one family member, spouse, partner or ex-partner attempts or carries out such behaviour with which they exercise power (physical, financial or legal) over the other person (family member, partner, etc.).
Statistics prove that nowadays in the West and in Hungary every fifth woman lives in a relationship where her partner harms her physically. This data is made worse by the fact that the number of women living in constant emotional violence is considerably high. The biggest problem is that most often, the outside world knows nothing about it. In the majority of the cases, those who are in this situation do not ask for help, but suffer in silence. In other cases, they cannot ask for help as the people and responsible authorities turn a blind eye on the problem. It is impossible to say exactly what is going on behind closed doors, but there are some tell-tale signs and symptoms of emotional and physical violence.
25th November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and this is the day that marks the start of the action that lasts for 16 days, until 10th December, the International Day of Human Rights. It calls attention to the fact that violence against women is a severe human rights violation, which puts the life, human dignity, physical wellbeing, health and safety of the victims at risk.
This year's topic is “Let's create a society, which says NO to violence against women!” Here you can read more about the programme and the most important stages of the 16 action days.
Why 25th November?
25th November was chosen as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence at the first Feminist Encuentro of the Latin American and Caribbean area that was held 18-21 July 1981. During this, the participants unanimously condemned all kinds of violence based on the discrimination amongst sexes, which ranges from domestic violence through rape to sexual harassment and the different types of violence from the state, including the torture and harming of female political prisoners. The goal was to commemorate the Mirabal sisters (Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa), who were brutally murdered on this day by the Rafael Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominical Republic. Therefore, in 1999, the UN declared this day the International Day of Eliminating Violence against Women.
Istanbul convention in the name of women's rights
The convention of Istanbul has been in action since 11th May 2011. This is the first European document containing legal obligations which regulate the actions against every form of violence against women, including prevention, active intervention and the liability of the offenders. The future goal of the convention is the abolishment of every form of violence against women. The document excludes the possibility of misinterpretation by defining violence against women and domestic violence against women as a violation of human rights and furthermore, defines the obligations of the member states. Hungary is still to join the agreement.
You can read more about the convention here.
Written by Zsófia Tupi
Translated by Judit Molnár