November 25th marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, a global and severe issue that affects us all, women and men.
Prior to the pandemic, violence against women was already alarmingly high, with nearly 1 in 5 women (18%) experiencing violence in the past 12 months at the hands of an intimate male partner. With COVID-19, an increased reporting of domestic violence has surfaced, with a staggering 40% rise in some countries, last April the UN said.
Every day we read about feminicides and dreadful statistics about violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence. Since words count, we have been thinking about the fact that we are looking at gender-based violence from the wrong perspective. The problem is linked to an archaic vision based on a gender inequality widespread by behaviors and stereotypes apparently harmless and not offensive. There is a need for a cultural change in which everyone recognizes equal rights to women and men and deals with violence of every kind.
On November 25th, we believe that men can be focal actors of this change too. Prevention is still the most long-term way to stop violence and to show emotional intelligence as a strength of men, exactly as of women, would launch an authentic signal to young adults.
Our CEO Pierluigi Antonelli is at the forefront against gender-violence and vocally stands for equality between men and women. On his article “Women Pay Heavy Price In COVID-19 Crisis” on LinkedIn, he also highlights the consequences of the pandemic on women’s Mental Health and on the surge of gender-based violence during lockdowns.
As a matter of fact, cases grew by 20% globally during the most challenging months of the pandemic, according to the UN. We discussed the situation with Marcella Pirrone, president of the European Wave network, and with Concetta Schiavone, psychologist in a women's shelter in Southern Italy on our hub dedicated to Mental Health, HarmoniaMentis.com.