'One in three' women in Europe has experienced physical and/or sexual violence

Violence against women can no longer be 'brushed under the carpet', says Jana Žitňanská.

By Jana Žitnanská

24 Nov 2014

We are all very well aware of the terrifying numbers - one in three women in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence. When it comes to concrete tools the EU can offer, I am a strong supporter of the Daphne programme which provides funding to grassroots organisations delivering training and services, raising awareness and sensitising the public. Support for the victims should come from the bottom up.

What strikes me as shocking on a more personal level is something I experience all too often - in some communities, cities or households - and that is the idea of violence against women still being considered a private 'not to be talked about' matter. This concept of dealing with the issue is unacceptable for two reasons. First, it is never just the victim who bears the consequences. The act of violence has severe repercussions for children, the wider family, friends and the entire community. Second, I always stress the importance of mind-set. We politicians and campaigners do get angry, but victims often become ashamed and are discouraged in asking for proper support and help. It is therefore our task to stand up for their rights, to talk about the issue and bring it into the conversation, rather than brushing it under the carpet.

That is why I will be wearing an orange scarf on 25 November, the day which has been designated as the international day for the elimination of violence against women. Do join me.