Wars pass, crises end, but violence against girls and women and domestic violence sadly remain. Combating this harmful phenomenon represents an objective that can be achieved by improving the legislation: potential victims are protected, and the aggressors receive their due punishment. These topics were discussed by the participants of the International Conference to prevent and combat violence against girls and women and domestic violence, 2nd edition.
The President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, also participated in the event. According to her, domestic violence cannot be justified by the customs of a country. Violence means fear, pain and sometimes a fatal end.
“Combating violence against women and girls means more opportunities for development for them and, at the same time, for society. The more educated, economically independent and professionally affirmed women we have, the stronger and healthier our society will be,” said the Head of State.
After the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, the Moldovan authorities took several measures to strengthen the fight against domestic violence, adds Maia Sandu.
“Victims can today obtain state-guaranteed legal assistance from the moment they file a complaint against the aggressor. At the same time, the electronic monitoring of the aggressors reduced the incidence of recidivism of violating the protection order. We want to build a country where every little girl and woman feels protected. Family should not mean fear, but respect and a helping hand”, says the president.
Dominika Stojanoska, the representative of UN Women in Moldova, mentioned that women, girls, as well as all people from marginalized groups must participate in the high-level decision-making process.
“We are here to support national governments in adjusting national legislation to international standards and honoring obligations according to previously developed strategic plans. 70% of our funding goes to organizations that support women and girls. We believe that partnerships are necessary to support organizations that have demonstrated that they can deal with crises through engagement, commitment and volunteerism,” she said.
Claudia Luciani, director of the Human Dignity, Equality and Governance Department of the Council of Europe, mentioned that the war in Ukraine has created new challenges. They include also the large flow of refugees to the Republic of Moldova. This situation requires careful monitoring.
“Many countries have focused on protection and punishing criminals. However, we believe that we must focus on prevention. If we want to break this vicious circle, we have to get involved with different prevention mechanisms”, added Claudia Luciani.
In patriarchal societies, women have been denied the right to express themselves for many years. In such societies, harassment is normalized, justified or silenced, says Veronica Teleucă, coordinator of the National Coalition “Life without Violence”.
“We are all different, but we have all been through the same experiences. Or know someone who has been through similar experiences: being discriminated against, being silenced, being bullied. We are all here to change these things. Supporting women is probably one of the most important moments, when a woman chooses the path to autonomy, freedom and following her dreams”, concludes Veronica Teleucă.
In 2021, Moldova ratified the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. It is also known as the Istanbul Convention. Local authorities are committed to promoting zero tolerance of domestic violence and violence against women. These actions are being recognized as forms of human rights violations and discriminatory actions.