On November 24, 2021, IUS United Nations Association Club (UNA) hosted UNA Talks with Dr. Jago Salmon, Head of the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in BiH. The topic was November 25 – the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women.
As one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gender equality and elimination of violence against women is one of the fundamental issues in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report prior to the Covid19 pandemic, one in three women experience some form of violence from a family member or a partner. In addition, women of all backgrounds and ages come across violence during their lifetime. It has become a global pandemic affecting all spheres of life.
In 2020, more than 80% of countries adopted certain legal measures to address violence against women. In the early months of the pandemic, especially during the quarantine and lockdown periods, violence against women skyrocketed. Besides, it is important to note that many cases are not reported. It is very often related to the identity and culture and that is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to eliminate it.
For the past 20 years, UN has been working on activities related to violence against women: raising awareness, collecting information, implementing existing legislations, etc. Their future activities will include setting up crisis centers, hot lines and shelters as well as close cooperation with the police and emergency services.
However, the only real change can come from the society. One such example is the Facebook group “Nisam tražila” which anonymously introduces cases of violence against women to the public and thus creates opportunities for discussions and raising awareness on this form of violence in the society. Women who work in the public sphere are especially prone to online harassment.
Bringing changes takes time and in the case of violence against women, prevention is the most important step and the most effective measure to eliminate it. In the end, violence against women is not a women’s issue, it is a society’s issue: a society needs to understand that when violence occurs, the victim is not to blame. The crime should be addressed and not the victim.
The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Anes Kadić, UN Association Club President at IUS.