For the Diotima Center, the World Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is a day of milestones for women and femininities around the world; a day of struggle and visibility for an everyday, global phenomenon that remains “invisible”. A phenomenon that escapes statistics (when, where and if they exist), as it is masked by convenient myths and social tolerance, and as a result goes unreported.
Gender-based violence, the core of historically established gender inequality that has led and continues to lead to discrimination against women, concerns us all.
Any woman is a victim of violence
It does not happen in earlier times, in more conservative societies, in some ‘other’ societies, somewhere ‘elsewhere’. Millions of women, young girls, females, and LGBTQ+ people around the world, thousands of women in our country, are nowadays affected daily by the most brutal form of social control over our lives and bodies.
Anyone can be a victim of violence, regardless of class, ethnicity, religion, age, educational and economic level, sexual orientation, or cultural and linguistic characteristics. However, unemployed, poor women, migrant, and refugee women are more vulnerable because they lack economic independence and social support.
Gender-based violence in all its forms (verbal, psychological, physical, sexual, economic, symbolic) causes multiple traumas to the people who experience it.
137 femicides worldwide every day
Here, we will not once again quote endless statistics to prove that our bodies are vulnerable within patriarchy. Suffice it to say that 137 femicides are recorded every day around the world. Women are murdered by husbands and/or relatives because toxic masculinity, in its various versions, believes it can do violence to “correct” us, even homicidal violence.
In Greece in 2019, 11 femicides have been recorded so far. In addition, thousands of women, the vast majority of whom are victims of domestic violence, seek and register every year with the support network of structures of the General Secretariat for Gender Equality and Family Policy, and the police/judicial/forensic authorities.
Legal framework and institutional sexism
The legal framework for the punishment of perpetrators and the protection of victims of gender-based violence exists: the ratification -by our country- of the Istanbul Convention (2018), which systematically reflects forms of gender-based violence that until now were not legally recognized as such, as well as the enshrinement of consent in the legal definition of rape (2019), are some important steps, but they are not enough…
Besides, the legal arsenal alone is not sufficient to eliminate everyday sexism and the power of gender stereotypes/biases, which provide legitimacy to the practice of gender-based violence and are even reproduced by the (police, judicial, forensic) authorities to which survivors turn for help.
It is not a private matter, it concerns us all
Institutional sexism goes hand in hand with social tolerance of the phenomenon. How many times have we not heard that it is a “private matter”? How many women have not been urged by their social circle to return home for ‘the sake of their children’ and found doors closed while they sought support? How many females were not confronted with rape culture and were re-victimized in courtrooms, through mainstream media or social media discourse, when they found the courage to report their rape?
And at the same time, economic violence, unemployment, and cuts in social services trap women and make them prey to all kinds of abusers, inside and outside the home.
All of the above demonstrates that gender violence is present in our lives, in the lives of half the world’s population, and its eradication requires the contribution of all of us! This is what is loudly stated by the poignant resistances of women and feminist movements all over the world and in our country, from #Metoo to the mobilizations for the Wolf Pack in Spain, from the mass marches for the femicide of Eleni Topaloudi in Greece to the corresponding grand demonstrations in Mexico.
As Diotima Center, we support feminist struggles! We work in multiple ways for a society without sexism and gender-based violence! We break the silence and make all forms of gender-based violence visible! We stand with the survivors.
- legal recognition of femicide
- the creation of adequate reception facilities and hostels to support survivors, women and men
- the creation of services and long-term support structures for victims of violence
- the training of the staff of all the institutions involved, so that victims are not discouraged and receive effective support
- ensuring that cases are heard quickly and free of charge
- to the feminist march on Saturday 23/11/2019, at 1 pm at Kapnikarea
- the rally and march on Monday 25/11/2019, at 6 pm at Klathmonos Sq.