Violence is a phenomenon that is rooted in unequal power relations between women and men that lead to discrimination, said Commissioner for Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic at the rally “Preventing the Violence Against Women” held in the Serbian Parliament.
Explaining the term “femicide”, Commissioner said it’s a “intentional murder of a woman just because she is female,” when one human claims the right to kill another human being and that it is very upsetting that men think they have the right to kill . It is the most severe form of human rights violation and it must not be tolerated, accepted or justified, it should be suppressed and punished, Jankovic said.
Commissioner also pointed to the role of the media in preventing and combating violence against women, noting that the reporting of crimes often rationalizes abusers. We should constantly repeat that no woman is responsible for experiencing violence, Jankovic said. Talking about criminal policy, she cited some absurd examples where, in criminal proceedings, drunkenness, age, and even unemployment are considered as extenuating circumstances.
Commissioner assessed that the legislative framework has been significantly improved in recent years, but that the prevention of violence against women has not been done sufficiently. Therefore, early education on gender equality and promotion of coordinated effective action in area of providing protection against violence in all institutions play an important role.
The meeting featured research on violence against women conducted by the OSCE mission in Serbia, according to which 70% of women after the age of 15 have experienced some form of sexual harassment, stalking or partner violence. The Ministry of Justice said that more than 21,000 cases of domestic violence had been reported in Serbia since November last year, of which 74 percent were victims of violence.