Gender-based violence is a global issue and we all need to take action
Sofia Neves – Portuguese Team
Gender-based violence affects societies all around the world. Its negative impacts on people´s lives have been widely documented by the scientific community in the last decades, demanding all the efforts to prevent and combate it.
Governmental and non-governmental entities, public and private institutions, as well as individuals from different social sectors, have been working togheter in order to develop and apply efective measures capable of stoping an epidemic problem deeeply rooted in conservative values and practices.
The European Union, in particular, has been improving legislation to protect victims, especially women and children. For instance, the Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and the Council (25(/10/2012) reinforced all stages of the criminal process, and established minimum standards in the recognition of rights, support and protection. According to the Directive, victims have to be provided with specialized support and access to shelters as well as with protection measures (e.g., restraining or barring orders) and other legal instruments mutually recognized by all European countries.
Despite the advances in this domain, gender-based violence is still a silenced problem. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Eurobarometer (2016), the majority of European citizens do recognize domestic violence as a common problem (74%), but most do not speak about it. Only 12% report the incidents to the police and 7% to health or support services, while 18% mentioned the lack of proof. Moreover,26% of the respondents referred that the issue in not of their business and 15% considered that domestic violence is still a private matter.
In such a scenario, each one of us can and must take action in order to change the reality of thousands of people, mostly women and girls,who suffers everyday multiple forms of violence because of their gender. Individually or by joining a group, a community or a institution, we can assume the concrete responsibility of intervening in our areas of influence. Constructing a hopely future implies a daily engagement in gender equality and, above all, with peace. In this sense, working with young people as Lights4Violence does, is pivotal: they can be “trained” from an early age to manage their interpersonal relationships in a non-violent and constructive way, to identify situations of gender-based violence and to accompany the victims in recognizing and addressing the problem.