International Women's Day 2004
No To Violence Against Women
Every year, millions of people across the world suffer serious physical, psychological, moral and material harm following acts of violence perpetrated against them. Women are often seen to be the victims of these acts of violence of all kinds, for many reasons linked to their own physical nature and to political, socio-economic and cultural realities.
All over the world, women have a low level of participation in decision-making bodies and restricted economic power, which predisposes them to a certain economic dependence. Women's work is still little recognised by official bodies. Women, who are the majority of the illiterate, are often ignorant of their most basic rights. Socio-cultural, traditional and religious practices often place them in a situation of dependence and submission in relation to men. This situation stems from a real discrimination on the grounds of gender in which a constant factor is a wide range of violent acts perpetrated against them.
We should however recall that, at the 1993 UN Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, Women's rights were recognised as basic human rights and that energies have been constantly mobilised in defence of these rights. The struggle for the total eradication of the violence of which women all over the world continue to be daily victims is at the forefront of the concerns regularly expressed.
Today, as the veil of indifference, silence and resignation – often mixed with shame – which has always concealed the punishments carried out against women is torn away, recourse to the forces of law and order has become a frequent occurrence. Significant advances have been made all over the world through an unprecedented social mobilisation of non-governmental organisations and other organisations of civil society, the legal, health and communications professions, in collaboration with official governmental and international instruments for the promotion of women.
Socialist International Women, through numerous resolutions and declarations, has been in the forefront of all these struggles, mobilising its member organisations to denounce acts of violence and to make the public aware of the measures to be taken at all levels to eradicate violence against women.
In conclusion, we must agree that, if we are to protect those women of tomorrow which the girls of today will become, we have to end these practises. This will be achieved by a global alliance, excluding no sector of society.