23 November, 2017
Yesterday I attended WIZO Israel's annual event to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Violence against women is a human rights violation. It includes Physical. Mental. Emotional. Social and Financial violence or any combination thereof. There is also an alarming increase in on-line violence against women and on-line misogyny – (hatred of women). The language used is much more explicit, abusive, intimidating and threatening than that used in regard to on-line misandry (hatred of men).
in 1999 the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (Resolution 54/134) and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize on that day activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem, and (to highlight that the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden.
Stopping Domestic Violence is one of WIZO's core goals and over the years, WIZO has done everything it can through advanced legislation and awareness, accompanied by practical measures that provide abused women with tools to build a violence-free life for themselves and their families, and eventually reach financial independence. Assistance is also extended to the children – who are either victims of violence themselves or witnesses to what happened in their homes. They too bear scars of domestic violence – mental, emotional and/or physical.
In 2016, 17 women were murdered by their spouse, partner or family member compared to 16 in 2015.There about 200.000 abused women in Israel and approximately 500,000 children victims and witnesses to that violence. However, less 1% of the children – 2000 – receive any type of treatment.
Children are an important target population in which therapeutic, educational and community resources must be invested in order to prevent the harm and damage that accompanies their development, in a violent home and to stop assimilating the phenomenon in the next generation as well. Without treatment, their lives will follow the only way of life they know – the unhealthy pattern they witnessed or experienced at their parental home.
Now you may find the following statistics disturbing because they are – 1 in every 4 children will tell no one that he/she witnessed domestic violence at home; 1 in every 3 young people is or was exposed to domestic violence; 67% personally know a young person who is exposed to domestic violence.
The conference focused on the importance of locating and identifying children exposed to domestic violence; the expansion of the various and relevant frameworks to treat them, and their adaptation to the children's needs and the complex family situation in which they live.
During the Conference "Behind closed doors "- the first documentary film of its kind in Israel was screened. It follows four young people who share their experiences as children who grew up in a house full of violence, and three of the children were treated in a Shelter or Treatment Centre Suddenly they ae not transparent – they are seen and heard. It is heart breaking to hear what they had to experience, and yet heartwarming to hear the hope in their voices when they talk about their future – absolutely detached from the pain and anguish of their past.
Gila Oshrat, Chairperson WIZO Israel " "We have a disturbing picture of the phenomenon of domestic violence, especially regarding children exposed to violence at home, and these children are transparent, there are no structured detection processes in the education system, no treatment and prevention programmes, and that leaves a huge void that contributes to exacerbating the phenomenon. The data must be a wake-up call to the government for the immediate implementation of the national program to combat violence against women, which was approved last July but its implementation has not yet been budgeted."
By the way, due to the current wave of sexual harassment allegations against members of the media, there is a call for an overall review of the law of harassment – to clarify definitions that are not clear, to extend the status of limitation (currently 7 years) and more….
WIZO Israel continues to keep their hand on the national pulse and address domestic violence on all levels of action.
G-d bless you and G-d bless Israel.
G-d bless you and G-d bless Israel.
President, World WIZO