Saturday, 20th of October, the fourth edition of the ‘’Together for Women’s Safety’’ March took placed in Bucharest. The march was organized by the Network for Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women (VIF Network) as a sign of solidarity with surviving women of violence and to maintain the necessary public pressure to respect the rights of women and girls.
More than 1,000 participants crossed the route University Square - Roman Square - Victoria Square chanting slogans against violence and solidarity with women who have passed or are going through violence The march brought together both representatives of non-governmental organizations active in the field of preventing and combating violence against women, as well as representatives of embassies in Romania (Sweden, Great Britain, France ) as well as people who want to send a message of zero tolerance to domestic violence. This participation is in line with the United Nations campaign „UNiTE to End Violence Against Women”, also known as the Orange campaign, that aims to raise public awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls in our countries and worldwide.
Through this action, the VIF Network aims to draw the attention of the authorities to the sub-financing of services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, the lack of shelters in several counties, the need to urgently introduce the aggressor surveillance system using electronic bracelets and the development of programs education, counseling and therapy for aggressors in each county. Police, Justice and the medical system must be real support facilities for victims.
Institutional representatives should treat victims with dignity and professionalism to encourage them to trust their complaints and to report aggression. Authorities should treat violence against women with the utmost responsibility and include notions about gender equality in education and about preventing and combating violence against women.
DATA SHOW THAT:
• In Romania, 1 out of 4 women were physically or sexually aggressed by their partner or former partner (FRA study - Fundamental Rights Agency, 2014)
• There are over 20,000 complaints of harassment or other violence per year among family members (IGPR data, 2017)
• 55% of Romanians consider rape to be justifiable in certain situations (Eurobarometer 449, 2016)
• Every week there is a case where a woman is raped in the family and every 2 days there is a case where a minor is raped or sexually assaulted in the family (VIF Network Study, 2017)
For members of the VIF Network, the interim protection order issued by the police immediately following the finding of the deed, the financing of shelters and services for victims and the implementation of the Istanbul Convention, have been the objectives of numerous advocacy efforts.
Through the public pressure generated by the match, the organizers want to speed up the institutional process of adopting measures to protect women and punish aggressors.
Any action of public condemnation of violence can help to change the mentality of the victim's blame and to combat the reluctance of those around him or the authorities to intervene when a woman is aggressed by her partner.
The Network for Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women is made up of 24 non-governmental organizations and aims to promote women's rights, protect victims of gender violence and combat gender discrimination.
Over the past three years, the Network has supported the signing and ratification of the Istanbul Convention and has participated in working groups with representatives of the Government and Parliament for proposals to amend the legislation in Romania in line with the provisions of this Convention.
The most recent activity of the Network is the realization of the Study on monitoring the implementation of the protection order in 2012-2016 and other measures and services in support of victims.