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PACE General Rapporteur on violence against women calls on men and boys to play an increasingly active part in eliminating violence

On the eve of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Zita Gurmai (Hungary, SOC), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on violence against women, made the following statement:

“Violence against women happens everywhere, every day. From the street to the home, from the playground and sports fields to the computer, small acts of aggression gain momentum to become dangerous weapons pointed at girls and women with negative and sometimes dramatic consequences. One in three women have felt that violence directed towards them.

Despite all our efforts, as individuals, communities and decision-makers, the violence continues and takes on new shapes. There is nevertheless hope in the rising awareness of the phenomenon. Recent movements have given visibility to the need to act to end violence, denouncing outdated social structures that perpetuate stereotypes, and to balance out unequal power-sharing. Today, violence against women is less often considered a taboo or a private matter. But until the whole of society recognises the need for change and for the true equality that ends violence – until victim-blaming stops and men and boys also speak up against gender-based violence – we will not prevail.

Countries must sign and ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention. It is the gold standard for eradicating gender-based violence and the only means of addressing holistically the root causes of violence against women and objectively monitoring policies and practice to counter violence at its roots. Countries must also look to schools, trainers, the media and politics to carry a new message of mutual respect and understanding. And all of this needs both women and men, girls and boys to work together to identify, denounce and eliminate the toxic sources of tension and hostility still all too present in our everyday lives.

This year I call more strongly than ever on men and boys to play their part in ensuring that violence against women is eliminated from our societies.”