From the International Day against Violence against Women on November 25th to Human Rights Day on December 10th, landmark buildings around the world will be illuminated with orange light to address the extent of violence against women. According to a count by the Association of Autonomous Austrian Women’s Shelters (AÖF), there have already been 28 femicides in Austria this year.
“Every woman must be made aware that a way out of the spiral of violence is possible as soon as help is sought,” said Monika Gabriel, women’s chairwoman of the public sector union, on Friday. More contact points would have to be created and information campaigns started. The most important thing is the prevention of violence. “We need constructive men’s advice, but also the civil courage of each individual.”
The Professional Association of Austrian Psychologists (BÖP) describes the situation in Austria as alarming and unacceptable. “Just because it often takes place behind closed doors or invisibly does not mean violence is a private matter,” it said in a statement. Violence is still a daily reality for many women and girls. An end to this development is “unfortunately not in sight,” said BÖP President Beate Wimmer-Puchinger. The association calls for significantly more support for those affected, greater commitment to raising awareness in society and a solidarity of all health professionals and other relevant stakeholders in order to work together against violence.
24.3 million euros for protection against violence
Women’s Minister Susanne Raab (ÖVP) emphasized in advance that a large part of the women’s budget flows into protection against violence. 24.3 million euros have been budgeted for 2023. Social Affairs Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) explained that in 2023 the budget for violence prevention in his department will be increased from the current four to seven million euros. For the anti-violence organizations, that’s far too little. Women’s organizations, women’s shelters, the AÖF association, the women’s helpline, all women’s and girls’ advice centers and victim protection organizations need at least 228 million euros a year and 3,000 additional full-time jobs.
In cooperation with the Federal Chancellery, Fem Süd and the Red Cross, the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF) has developed a new brochure entitled “STOP! Against violence against women and girls”. The brochure provides information on various forms of violence in seven languages. In addition, the brochure supports those affected with contact addresses and contact points for violence protection centers and women’s shelters that offer help and advice. The brochure is available for download on the ÖIF website and is also available free of charge in the Red Cross district offices. The libraries of the City of Vienna will set a focus program with artistic and literary contributions in the coming days.
According to the United Nations, a woman or girl is killed by a partner or family member every eleven minutes. In addition, the Covid 19 pandemic but also economic effects have led to even more physical and verbal violence, according to the UN. The commemoration dates back to the assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, killed on November 25, 1960 in the Dominican Republic by military intelligence after months of torture. They worked underground and had engaged in activities against the tyrannical dictator Trujillo.
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