International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – November 25
November 25 was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the date chosen commemorates the Mirabal sisters, three Dominican women who were murdered in 1960 for opposing dictator Rafael Trujillo. From now until December 10, which is Human Rights Day, the United Nations is calling for 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
GenderHopes, dedicated to fight against gender discrimination, in close collaboration with Femmes Leaders Mondiales Monaco that defends the position of women in society, have launched an informative brochure on domestic violence. This pamphlet is available in French, English and Italian in several places in the Principality.
This brochure followed the inauguration in November 2013 of the site in English and French www.MonacoSaysNoToViolence.org & www.NonAuxViolencesAMonaco.org – It allows to identify the resources available to people confronted with domestic violence, and will enable them to inform them of their rights and find adequate assistance. It will be distributed in schools, medical offices, the hospital and other appropriate places.
A mini symposium covering all fronts
The comprehensive event started with a brief presentation by Hilde about the role of FLM, then Vibeke of GH, explained the need to inform women of what kind of help is available in the Principality for those affected by violence. They were followed by the intervention of three guests speakers each an expert in their specific field.
Christine Lorenzini was the guest speaker representing Stephan Valerie, Minister of Health and Social Affairs of the Principality. She gave a very interesting account of the role of the Family Mediation department that she heads, explaining the process and the specific intervention of the mediator in domestic violence situations.
Psychologist Olivier Cocchi talked about his experience in working with couples and emphasized that he prefers to work with all the members of a family. He believes that sometimes it is even necessary to meet with children separately, if they have been witness of parents’ violence. Resolving personal conflicts helps to find the courage and clarity to leave an unhealthy relationship.
Last but not least Gordon Baudin, yoga instructor, cardio combat, box without contact for women, specialist in female self-defense talked about how to work with men and find ways to help them vent their anger instead of directing it to their partner. He also gave a demonstration of a few self-defense moves that will help women protect themselves from attacks.
In a convivial atmosphere we heard the candid testimony of a few women who had been victims of domestic violence. Sharing their stories helps them and others. Together we are more!
Both associations have plans to co-organize an informative colloquium in the near future to increase awareness of the situation among the general public in the Principality.
Screening of the movie “The back of the Widow”
After the presentations there was a projection of the Cameroun documentary “The back of the Widow” (Le dos de la veuve) by Mary-Noell NIBA released in 2011, and produced by Luman Communications with the support of the Fonds francophone de production audiovisuelle du Sud (OIF, Paris).
The movie tells the story of a mother of six children who after the death of her husband, is constrained by the ancestral traditions of accepting the younger brother of his defunct husband as his heir. Under the same law he also gets the right to dispose of the widow as he wishes. When she refused his sexual advances of this young man who she has helped bring up, Pauline learned that you couldn’t ignore traditions. The verdict was expected: she was expulsed form her home like her children, a home she herself had built.
The genius of Niba is to portray Pauline’s courage who went against the abuse of tradition with whatever means in her power. Pauline and Patience, young abandoned widows, present their case to Fon, their traditions Chief. Faced with the hesitations of the customs tribunal to find solutions, and in spite of their respect for their gods, they want to find within the Republic laws the recognition of their rights. The film conveys the fight of women that find in the occidental societies the needed refuge. The world of Niba is to take destiny in their hands of women by women, without waiting and accepting whatever is forced on them. What the documentary does not tell is that the rest of Cameroun is infested by this type of situations.
Watch the movie trailer:
Orange your neighborhood
In observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence, this year, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign invites you to “Orange YOUR Neighborhood,” with the color designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolize a brighter future without violence. Inviting everybody to organize events to orange the local streets, shops and schools! General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon set the example by illuminating in orange the Empire State Building and the United Nations in New York.
“Everyone has a responsibility to prevent and end violence against women and girls, starting by challenging the culture of discrimination that allows it to continue,” Ki-moon said at the start of the campaign.
Sobering numbers how that 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner; about 120 million girls have been forced into intercourse or other sexual acts at some point in their lives; and 133 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation.
Ending violence against Women is one of UN Women’s key priorities, with myriad programs to address the pandemic globally. UN Women also coordinates the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign, supports widespread social mobilization through its Say NO – UNiTE social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter and manages the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.
A message from Natascha Kampusch
Natascha Kampusch is an Austrian woman born in 1988, notable for her abduction at the age of 10 in March 1998, held in a secret cellar by her kidnapper for more than eight years until she escaped in 2006. Below is an excerpt from her book 3,096 Days published in 2010:
- We live in a world in which women are battered and are unable to flee from the men who beat them, although their door is theoretically standing wide open.
- One out of every four women becomes a victim of severe violence.
- One out of every two will be confronted by sexual harassment over her lifetime.
- These crimes are everywhere and can take place behind any front door in the country, every day, and barely elicit much more than a shrug of the shoulders and superficial dismay.
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