International campaign 16 days of activism, which starts at 25th of November and lasts until 10th of December, this year carries a message: WHY THEY ARE NOT AMONG US?
This year's campaign is dedicated to women who are killed by their current or former husbands or partners. Although the fatalities of violence that women suffer terrify us, we do not forget that this is the "tip of the iceberg" and that women all over the world suffer from various forms of violence, and that there is an appropriate attitude of society in relation to this problem and efficient response in terms of protection measures and guaranteeing security to the victims.
The data show that women in Serbia are victims of various forms of violence - one in three women has had an experience of physical violence by a male family member. A relatively small number of them sought help from the institutions and even fewer were pleased with the interventions. The lawsuits (if they run at all) are long and inefficient, a woman is exposed to further violence procedures, convictions are mild compared to the work done, especially when compared to similar offenses committed outside the family. There are many ways in which the abuser or the violent act are justified, and ways of blaming the victim for the violence.
WHAT WE WANT? This time the campaign 16 days of activism against violence against women aims to put clear REQUIREMENTS for the institutions: police, center for social work, health care institutions, prosecution and courts to take responsibility within their jurisdiction and the obligation to:
- recognize domestic violence before it escalates and gets a fatal outcomes
- adequately estimates the risk of violent situations and take all preventive and protective measures
- fence policy of trust toward women and all other victims of violence and to unambiguously appoint sole responsibility of the perpetrator of violence
- create precise instructions on the procedures to protect victims of violence in accordance with all available legal options
- organize effective cooperation between the institutions responsible for the security plan
- develop preparedness for emergency response and protective measures in extreme cases
- form the records and documents that would help the trials and planning the necessary measures of protection
- support individual professional responsibility and sanctions for those who inresponsibly carry out their professional duties
From the state we seek to adopt a new law on family that defines the circle of protected persons, situations of violence and protection measures, because only in this way we can make a more efficient protection.
How the campaign will be organized in Serbia?
Activities we are planning:
- street actions called SILENT SILUETS
- distribution of the leaflets on the streets
- broadcasting the TV spot
- all other activities which women can perform during the 16 days
How did we get the data that are the basis of this year's campaign? We reviewed the daily press and all the inscriptions on violence against women with a fatal outcome. We just note down the basic data on women and violent acts. The manner in which cases are presented by journalists, we will not discuss this time. When you read copies (below this text) you will see that the victims were women of all ages, from different parts of Serbia, from small and large cities. So, there are no rules. One of the most common question posed to victims is: "why haven’t you left?" One third of women who have been killed this year abandoned her partner before the murder, and it suggests that the problem of male violence against women is a serious issue and that the protection is quite inadequate.
We'd love you to join us in this campaign in any way that you choose, and to motivate more women to participate in the actions. Each of us can make a very small personal contribution to solving the problems that are common. We owe it to the women whose destinies are the contents of this year's campaign, but also to all those women who suffer violence and are not able to come out of it without our public support.
We remind you that this campaign is part of the international campaign 16 days of activism against violence against women, which is implemented in different ways in more than 100 countries around the world, bounding important dates: 25th November is an International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a 10th December is International human rights day. The campaign with the message: Why they are not among us? is implemented in another 4 countries of the region (Croatia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania), as a joint action of women's NGOs.
International calendar of activities in regarding this campaign can be found at the Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL), and more information on the Autonomous Women's Center and women's groups on the web page www.womenngo.org.rs
With the hope to stay in touch with related joint activities, a sister greeted by the women from the Autonomous Women's Center and of Women in Action, Belgrade.