President Sakellaropoulou’s message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou posted a message on Facebook on Wednesday on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

“Violence against women, physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence, violence that affects the integrity and dignity of those who suffer from it, is a global phenomenon, of unique historical endurance, with painful repercussions. And, although it is rarely reported and even less frequently punished, the facts are overwhelming: according to the UN, one in three women will experience violence from her partner at some point in her life, one in five will be raped or suffer attempted rape, and millions of women around the world are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor. The dominance of patriarchal structures, the predetermination of gender roles and gender discrimination reproduce the problem and nowadays exacerbate it. The coronavirus pandemic, the financial problems, the forced coexistence in the limited space of one’s house due to the quarantine, the changes in our daily life, create the explosive atmosphere that promotes the phenomena of domestic violence and multiplies the crimes against women that sometimes go as far as murder.

“The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a symbolic movement of great importance, calls for vigilance and action. Zero acceptance and tolerance of violence against women. Punishment of the guilty. Establishment of support structures and protection of victims. And, most importantly, changing the family and social models, through educational and counseling processes. It will take time to break down the stereotypes that stem from gender inequality and ideologically surround the phenomenon, often stigmatising the victim rather than the culprit, shaping collective tolerance for morally and criminally heinous acts. But until then, strictly enforcing the existing legal framework and creating a supportive environment for women who have been or are being abused is the only way.”

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