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To the European Commission, European Parliament and Council of the European Union

We are calling on the EU to enhance and swiftly adopt the Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence. The Directive should criminalise all forms of sexual exploitation of women, including sexual violence and abuse over women’s sexuality, and all forms of online violence against women and girls. We also call to set high standards for specialised support mechanisms to protect survivors and ensure their access to justice and reparation.

Why is this important?

Despite progress over the last decades on gender equality, there is not a single country in Europe where women and girls are free from violence. There is no area of a woman or girl’s life where she is not exposed to the possibility of violence: from the home’s private space to the public space, which includes the workplace and online spaces.

In the EU, 1 in 3 women have suffered physical and/or sexual violence and 1 in 2 women have experienced sexual harassment since the age of 15.

Gender-based violence has increased for the first time in a decade and 2 women each day are killed in the EU at the hands of their partners or former partners.  All forms of Violence against women have the same goal: to silence women and to keep them in a subordinate place. But we won’t let that happen!

We have a chance right now to secure a EU Directive on violence against women and domestic violence.  Women who have been the survivors of rape, female genital mutilation, image based sexual abuse online, cyberstalking, or cyberharassment will have the same level of protection no matter where they live. Women’s organisations are working hard to ensure that the Directive covers more forms of violence, including all forms of sexual violence and sexual and reproductive exploitation, and also to ensure that it proposes a comprehensive set of specialised measures to protect all women survivors of any form of gender-based violence and to give them access to justice and reparation.

If enough of us show how important it is to ensure women are safe and protected, decision makers will have to listen to us. Add your voice

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