PRESS RELEASE - 24 November 2009
On the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) calls on the Cyprus Government to support the efforts of the Council of Europe Ad Hoc Committee on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (CAHVIO), to draft a legally binding instrument for preventing and combating domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.
According to the Council of Europe one-fifth to one-quarter of all women have experienced physical violence at least once during their adult lives, more than one-tenth have suffered sexual violence involving the use of force, and one-fifth of women in Europe have experienced domestic violence by their spouse or partner. In the case of Cyprus, the Cyprus Police have reported that 80% of victims of domestic violence in Cyprus are women, and 85% of perpetrators are men. Despite this, reporting rates as well as rates of conviction remain at very low levels. This reflects the mistaken perception that violence against women is a private affair as well as the prevailing culture of victim blaming that places responsibility for violence on the victim and not on the perpetrator.
In Cyprus violence against women is recognized and interpreted only within the context of family relationships rather than within the broader context of traditional power relations between women and men. The phenomenon of violence against women is inextricably linked to gender inequality and both in private and public life, creating an environment in which violence against women is tolerated and accepted. Violence is perpetrated against women precisely because they are women, and as long as this violence continues to be tolerated, true equality can never be achieved.
The next meeting of the CAHVIO Committee will take place on 1-3 December 2009. Considering the urgent need for a comprehensive human rights treaty to combat violence against women on a European level, we call on the Cyprus Government to actively support this effort. All forms of violence against women are violations of women's human rights. We can no longer close our eyes to its devastating effects on women, their families, and society at large.
The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies is a non-profit NGO affiliated to the University of Nicosia.
Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies [MIGS]
46 Makedonitissas Avenue,
P.O.Box 24005, Nicosia 1703, Cyprus
Tel: ++ 35722 351274 (ext.115) Fax: ++357 22 353682