It is important to speak publicly about sexual violence against women and to act in the public sphere, because only in that way does the awareness of the necessity of reporting violence develop. This is the obligation of all institutions, bodies and organizations that deal with the position of women in society, while the role of the media and the way they report is of immeasurable importance, said Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Brankica Janković at the conference “Combating sexual violence against women – improving legal framework and procedures”, organized by the UN Agency for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Serbia (UN Women).
Although the legal protection of women has significantly improved in recent years with better cross-sectoral cooperation, the problem is that sexual violence against women has a long history of discrimination and unequal balance of power between women and men, social tolerance of all forms of violence against women, said Commissioner Janković. She stated that a good legal framework is only the first step in the fight against violence against women, but that constant work must be continued on creating an adequate social climate for substantial prevention of violence against women, and that the commitment of the entire society is necessary.
The commissioner pointed out that it is important to pay special attention to the education of boys and young men, who are confused by traditional, but still prevailing models of behavior in male-female relationships. “Young people are looking for acceptance in accordance with the social norms they perceive, and that is why it is important to offer boys and young men adequate role models from which it will be clear what acceptable behavior is”, Janković concluded.