More than cultural change needed!

Ahead of the Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December, it is time to do more than drawing again and again attention to the violence against women. In Belgium alone the figure is frightening: about 100 violations a day! And there is still an important number of women who do not bring this to justice as they know about the police men´s mechanisms: many feel the obligation to proof and the undergoing of medical and other exams as a second violation. After having undergoing the worst, they have again to present in details their sufferings and bring the “proofs”. Only those who lived it may have an idea what this means in terms of psychological and physical suffering.

There is no excuse, not the increasing violence of our societies in general accelerated by increasing inequality, nor religious or other cultural justifications. It is about respect, dignity and civilsation. Although violence is not exclusively male, the cases of violence in couples against men is not comparable, but nevertheless deplorable, and no reason to put at the same level.

Usually the first step is the denigrement of women, the sexism in words before deeds. It is no fun, but it is still widespread, and not only in Europe.

Fifty years after the European and American students movements, conservatives of all kind try to organize a societal backlash stating that the women are not strong enough and do not need any dedicated policies. What an error and what a demagogy! Speaking out an issue is not its solution but only the first step towards it. It's not because the #MeToo movement started off more serious conversations about sexism that sexism is over.

Without tailored policies nothing can be reached and the equality between genders cannot be taken for granted. But even if 50 years ago the liberalisation of women, the rights to dispose of their bodies was on the agenda, there was birth mistake - isn't it true that the students movements, also on the left were quite machist?

Instead of getting a more equal society, we have one where platforms for perpetuating violence multiply. It is through the anonymous social media that dirty campaigns of intimidation and defamation, of sexist and racist insults are propagated. It still seems there is no real remedy as the victims remain first in a reactive position whereas the violators even feel encouraged. There is need for finding a legal framework to identify the responsibles and to be able to prosecute.

Women’s rights are human rights! It is about progress of our societies, about liberal democracies, emancipation, equality, dignity and integrity. Nothing new, but how necessary to have in more than in mind on the Anniversary of Human’s Rights declaration!