Europe, be brave! Include gender violence as a Eurocrime

A statement from the EFA Women’s Forum on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Another year on the 25th of November we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. On this day we remember all the victims of Gender Violence that have suffered this year: those that survived and keep surviving every day to sexism, and also those who sadly passed away. Today we remember that women are not free around the world. We are not free in Iran, where we cannot choose what we can wear. We are not free in Turkey, where the state wants to illegalise associations and parties such as the HDP, a model and reference for all of us on how to put gender equality into practice. We are not free in the USA, where we have lost our reproductive rights. And we are not free in Europe, where we still face lower salaries, harassment, aesthetic pressure, violence, or murder.

The right to self-determination is the right to decide ourselves how we want to live. As we see, women cannot take this right for granted. The patriarchal structure of our societies continuously violates our right to self-determination and prevents us to live in full freedom. And we, EFA the party for self-determination, through the EFA Women’s Forum as the main feminist body in the organization, will fight for equality and feminism until all women can freely choose and decide. This will not happen until we end all forms of gender violence.

During this mandate, EFA has been a key actor in advocating for an end to gender violence in the EU. From the European Parliament we are negotiating, thanks to our MEP Diana Riba, to develop an ambitious EU Directive against Gender Violence. The Commission is creating a Directive, which will be a step forward in guaranteeing women’s rights. It will modify member states’ penal codes and fix the minimum standards in important matters such as genital mutilation, non-consented exchange of intimate material, hate or violence encouragement, and rape, which will be legislated based whether there was consent given, something that was currently only happening in 13 out of the 31 states in Europe.

This Directive will be a forward step in protecting women from gender violence and EFA celebrates this good news. Nevertheless, we want more. European women deserve more. One of the main problems of this directive is that it can only legislate on matters considered Eurocrimes: sexual exploitation of women and children, and online harassment. Other aspects such as economic, labour, institutional, psychological, symbolic, and obstetric violence are not tackled. This situation would be different if Article 83 of the Treaties was modified to include gender violence as a Eurocrime, as the European Parliament approved with a vast majority thanks to a report presented by our MEP Diana Riba.

EFA will keep fighting for gender equality and to develop more ambitious legislation that includes all kinds of gender violence. We will continue demanding the inclusion of gender violence as a Eurocrime in Article 83 of the treaties and we will not stop until European women are completely free. Therefore we call on the European institutions to be brave. Because the Europe of tomorrow will be feminist and free of gender violence!

Watch members of the EFA Women’s Forum read our statement below: