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The role of men in stopping gender-based violence: “half of humanity cannot change the world without the other half being on board”

“The Istanbul Convention underlines that men and boys have an important role to play to end violence against women. Half of humanity cannot change the world without the other half being on board,” PACE President Rik Daems said today, opening a special event in Rome to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

“First and foremost, by being role models, engaging other men, friends and communities to promote and advocate equality between women and men, to change behaviours and attitudes, to promote relationships based on mutual respect and not on power,” he said.

Addressing the participants, Marta Grande, Chairperson of the Italian Delegation to the PACE, said the issue “touches and destroys lives and human relationships at its core, and that undermines and bends women's expectations, aspirations and futures”.

In Italy it has been estimated that 31.5 per cent of 16 to 70-year-old women have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, she pointed out. "And like us, the rest of Europe, with a rate of 33 per cent according to the European Institute for Gender Equality. Statistically 3 out of 10 women in this room have experienced violence.”

The parliamentarians also held an exchange of views with Michele Nicoletti, Professor at the University of Trento, a member of the Italian network on the Istanbul Convention, and Simona Lanzoni, Vice-President of the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Grevio).

A new video from PACE was launched during the special event, with ideas and advice for men and boys on how to fight sexism, counter gender stereotypes and combat gender-based violence.

Produced by the Assembly’s “Women free from violence” parliamentary network, the four-minute clip offers practical advice to men and boys on what they can do to stand up for true equality between women and men – such as calling out friends or colleagues who get it wrong, challenging stereotypes in the media, or showing the way for other men by acting with dignity and mutual respect at home, school and work.