All too often, the way in which the plight of violence against women is portrayed in the media puts an emphasis on the victims themselves but we learn nothing about the men who commit these crimes. Who are these men? What are their motivations for killing the women they love? What are they thinking when they raise their hands to hit women?
Social problems are understood in terms of how they are presented. Gender-neutral language, such as domestic violence, and the media exposure of women as victims disguise the everyday reality that the majority of perpetrators of violence are men. Unfortunately this is also the case in the context of awareness-raising and prevention campaigns.
The Istanbul Convention requires all Parties to take measures to eradicate prejudices, customs, traditions based on the idea of the inferiority of women or on stereotyped roles for women and men. Parties are required to support programmes aimed at teaching perpetrators to adopt non-violent behaviour in interpersonal relationships with a view to preventing further violence and changing violent behavioural patterns. The Istanbul Convention also calls on the media to refrain from contributing to the process of revictimisation especially in the context of judicial proceedings.
With the view to complementing such provisions of the Istanbul Convention, the Parliamentary Assembly should focus on the perpetrator and address the root causes of why men perpetrate violence and understand the complex nature of power, status and inequality between women and men in society that result in violence. Through this understanding, it should focus on ways to develop new methods of deterrence and prevention, elaborate guidelines for the media and formulate recommendations to member states on setting up rehabilitation programmes for perpetrators.