November 25th is marked, every year, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, as established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. The aim of the day is to raise awareness of the reality that women and girls in every country are subject to domestic violence and rape, and to highlight the true scale of the problem.
Violence against women and girls is a gross human rights violation. This violence devastates lives and causes untold pain, suffering and illness. Domestic violence also has an enormous economic impact.
Domestic violence has many forms including physical aggression, threats, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, controlling or domineering, intimidation and economic deprivation.
Deep-rooted inequality in the roles, rights and opportunities of men and women, and attitudes and social norms that condone or normalise such violence, have entrenched the problem in many Israeli communities.
For the 2016 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, WIZO brings attention to its year-round work and calling on the public and government to invest in prevention of abuse as the best form of treatment.
WIZO once again undertook several impressive projects to mark the day, with this year’s theme: prevention as the best form of treatment.
Statistics from WIZO 2016 Violence Report
- 13 women murdered by their husbands/partners or a family member
- 987 children being treated in violence prevention centers
- 78% increase in the number of complaints filed with police by a woman injured by a domestic partner
- 12,000 women have been treated for abuse in battered women’s centers across Israel
- there are at least 200,000 women living with abuse in Israel.
Viral Video Campaign run by WIZO
A first-of-its-kind video campaign aimed at the prevention of violence against women was unveiled by WIZO on November 21st .The campaign is part of a public social strategy which WIZO leads, to raise awareness and demand that the government invest in prevention rather than only post-abuse treatment.
The video depicts an act of physical spousal abuse and places four representative figures at the “scene” of the violence, representing the three main sources of post-abuse help for a woman: police, social worker, paramedic and judge. These four well-meaning figures, however, do not stop the illustrative act of abuse from happening.
The video went viral on social media and featured on primetime Israeli television, and received hundreds of thousands of “likes”, “views” and “shares.”
The video highlights WIZO‘s intent for 2016 to focus on prevention. According to Gila Oshrat, Chairperson of WIZO Israel, “The Israeli government invests in treating violence against women, but simultaneously ignores the opportunities to prevent it. The government fails in treating children, who are witnesses to the violence, and in treating men, who commit the acts of violence. The day when we spend more money and time on prevention than on post-abuse rehabilitation will be the day that we save Israeli society from this social blight.” WIZO believes that by raising awareness and prevention among these two audiences, men and youth, the number of violent incidents can be significantly decreased.
Video Campaign Featuring Beitar Jerusalem Football Team
Players from the Beitar Jerusalem Football Team participated in a special WIZO campaign – a short film featuring the football players calling on Israeli men to play a more active role in preventing and fighting the abuse of women. At their game against the HaPoel Tel Aviv team on November 21st, which was dedicated to the prevention of violence against women in Israel, the team called for a moment of silence and screened the film. “I’m very thankful to the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club for their readiness to help WIZO‘s effort. I’m sure that this unique project and the wide range of audiences it will reach will bring about real change,” said Prof Rivka Lazvosky, Chairperson of WorldWIZO about the cooperation. “The phenomenon of domestic violence destroys the lives of hundreds of thousands of women, children and men every year. Regrettably, Israeli society still sees this as a ‘women’s problem’ and not as it is – a societal issue that affects us all.”
- 3 Centres for the Prevention and Treatment of Violence in the Family. These centres have saved hundreds of families from violence. The centres are dedicated to stopping acts of abuse. Individual and group programs are run at the centre whilst the family unit is maintained in the family home.
- 2 Shelters for Battered Women and their children. Most women in domestic violence situations have no safe place to go. The shelters provide safety and security for women and children fleeing abusive men. The shelters accommodate families for a minimum of six months at a time and aim to prepare the mothers and children for an independent and violence free life.
“When I left the shelter I was stronger and more independent than ever. WIZO took me out of the darkness that was my life.” Ranit
- A help line that assists violent men in taking responsibility and getting the help they need. This help line is the only one of its kind in Israel. Many violent men do not want to be abusive, but lack the tools they need to deal with their anger in nonviolent ways.
“I was alone with my anger and had nowhere to turn. Calling the Hotline gave me the first step to change my ways and have better communication with my family.” Uri
It is important that WIZO continues to act on all levels to combat such violence through legislative and practical measures. If you do visit Israel, try to include a visit to a WIZO Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Violence and/or one of the 2 WIZO Shelters for Battered Women.