Regarding November 25th, The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women , Network Women against violence sends a message to the public:

Women are not to blame for the violence that’s happening to them!

The blame for family violence rests solely on the perpetrator on violence. In more than 95% of the cases, the perpetrators of family violence are men. However, a lot of the time, the responsibility in individual cases of violence is attributed to the women, with explanations that, for example, with the way the dress, look and behave they provoke the violence. After they report the violence, women are exposed to more violence and victimization, trough being forced to keep repeating their statements or not being believed and trusted by those who are suppose to help and protect them in these situations. Doubt and disbelief that they are telling the truth, coming from representatives of institutions, are especially suffering the women victims of multiple discrimination, for example Roma women, women with disabilities, women with changed mental states, women who are survivors of psychological and/or sexual family violence.

Therefore, on the international day of fighting against violence against women,

We ask the state to approach the question of protection of women from family violence with special attention, in accordance with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and suppressing violence against women and family violence, to create and accept the Strategy for fighting against violence towards women and establish a complete and appropriate cooperation with women specialized organizations on the case of protecting women from violence.

We invite the media to reconsider their current sensationally oriented approach on presenting women and substitute it to a more pro-social one. We encourage reporters not to excuse the perpetrators of violence by describing them as “ideal neighbors and hosts,” instead to find out whether they carry weapons, or were they prone to violent behaviors before, or whether they broke the law in the past and have they served a sentence for it.

We ask the Justice system not to easily disregard the cases against family violence perpetrators claiming that victims didn’t pursue the case long enough, instead act responsibly and timely, insisting on finding evidence yourselves in each individual case because collecting evidence isn’t a job for citizens rather legal institutions.

On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women , we turn to all women in Serbia, especially women who have experienced violence.

We believe you. We understand what is happening to you and why. We empathize  with your pain and fear and we support you, always and everywhere.

You are not to blame for the violence that’s happening to you!

Network Women against violence

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