Petra De Sutter

Fertiliteitsexperte, senator & parlementslid voor Groen in de Raad van Europa

Europe, Gender, Human rights, Violence against women

Mannen kunnen bondgenoten zijn in de strijd tegen geweld tegen vrouwen

De Raad van Europa nam op 29 juni 2017 een standpunt in over geweld tegen vrouwen op straat. Na de incidenten in Keulen vorig jaar, kwam er een nieuw rapport om de problematiek – die nog steeds erg aanwezig is – verder op te volgen.

In mijn tussenkomst benadrukte ik twee belangrijke argumenten. Enerzijds maakte ik duidelijk dat onderzoek heeft aangetoond dat migrantenmannen niet geweldadiger zijn tegenover vrouwen. Anderzijds pleitte ik voor meer respect voor de vrouw, die niet als partner – of aanhangsel – van de man moet gezien worden, maar als een sterke persoon op zichzelf.

Kijk hier voor meer uitleg:

Of lees mijn tussenkomst hier in het Engels:

Dear Chair,
Ladies and gentlemen

The issue of sexual violence and harassment in public
spaces is an important and urgent matter.
I want to congratulate the rapporteur for a comprehensive
and balanced report.

I will limit my intervention to some specific points in the
report.

Although sexual violence is often gender-based, we should
be careful not to see all men as the enemies of all women.

Firstly, many male offenders have themselves been victims
of sexual violence. By protecting men too, and raising
awareness, we are also breaking a cycle of future offenders.

Secondly, men should be allies to women in annihilating
sexual violence. Most men do not condone sexual violence,
and bringing the subject to the public attention may well be
a relief for them, since they realize that they do not need to
accept a culture of sexual agression.

Ladies and gentlemen, I also want to reiterate that sexual
violence occurs in all social circles and in all cultures, and is
not something of certain ethnic or religious groups.

Moreover, not only women are victims of sexual violence,
but also children, men, and LGBTI persons. They should not
be forgotten in our efforts.

We indeed need more awareness campaigns. However, we
must be careful not to reinforce paternalistic and macho
clichés and I am a bit sceptical if the report encourages to
speak to men in their function of fathers, friends, etc.

We are then perpetuating the idea that a woman’s value is
linked to her relationship to a man.

It is not because a woman is a sister, a mother or a
daughter of some MAN, that she should be respected.

No, we should respect women because they are human
beings and worthy of respect in themselves.
Instead of the idea that men are knights coming to rescue
women, we should encourage them to empower women.

Inquiries on sexual harassment and sexual violence should
be conducted by independent bodies, because governments
sometimes use data on gender-based violence in order to
target minorities as part of their anti-migration policy.
In this respect I want to stress that asylum seekers and
refugees, are not more prone to sexual violence than
Europeans.

Research in The Netherlands has shown that people of
other origins are more prone to what women considered
“light” sexual violence – whistling, catcalling etc, but it is men
of Dutch origin who committed more heavy forms of sexual
violence: touching, following, persistent harassment, and
rape.

I applaud the report for adopting a zero-tolerance approach
to sexual violence. It is never ok to sexually harass a
women, even when and where it is still considered culturally
appropriate. However, repression is not the only answer.

Research even shows that police forces do not always
make the safety feeling of women better, nor do they prevent sexual violence. What we need to do is to educate
police forces about sexual violence.

Dear colleagues,

I want to conclude by saying that respecting the physical
and sexual integrity of women is not just a feminist matter. It
is a human rights matter.

Thank you.

1 Reactie

  1. hilde maes

    dit vind ik weer erg knap samengevat, het is ook de essentie en de enige waarheid. een vrouw is in de eerste plaats een mens. gek dat dit na zoveel jaren feministische strijd nog geen standaardgegeven is. bedankt voor al je mooie werk petra!

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Thema door Anders Norén