25th November 2007 – The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
In our Women’s Global Charter for Humanity we, activists of theWorld
March of Women, affirm the world that we are building. A world where, “all
human beings live free of all forms of violence. No human being is the
property of another. No person may be held in slavery, forced to marry,
subjected to forced labour, trafficked, sexually exploited.”
On 25th November 2007 – International Day for the Elimination of Violence
against Women – we are mobilised around the world to reassert the values
of the Charter: freedom, peace, justice, solidarity and equality.
We denounce patriarchy, a system that for thousands of years has imposed
inequality, exploitation, privilege, discrimination, values, standards and
policies based on the presumed natural inferiority of women as human
beings and on a hierarchy of social roles assigned to women and men. It is
this system that generates violence.
We denounce machismo, which denies the right to sexual, reproductive and
corporal freedom and to happiness and female pleasure. Machismo uses
sexual violence and in this way negatively affects our capacity for
enjoyment, the fulfilment of our desires and the exercise of all our
rights. Machismo reduces women to the state of sexual objects, condemns
lesbians and promotes sexism, prostitution, trafficking of women and
girls, violence against women, girls and boys.
We denounce the racism present in our countries that - together with class
and gender oppressions - forms a mesh of domination that condemns
indigenous, afro-descendent, immigrant and peasant women to the appalling
We denounce neoliberal capitalist globalization, which is supported by a
sexual division of labour that creates additional inequality between men
and women and concomitantly, the potential for increased violence. Our
goal is to put an end to violence against women!
On this day we pay homage to the three Mirabal sisters assassinated by
order of the dictator Trujillo in the Dominican Republic on 25th November
To this day Authoritarian States still use violence against women
activists of social and women’s movements. Just in the last week we
received calls for solidarity concerning women from Burma, Colombia,
Guinea, Iran and Pakistan |1|.
But where there is violence, there is also resistance. Mexican women are
denouncing the links between militarization, the criminalisation of the
poor and social movements, and patriarchal violence. Their ‘One million
signatures for women’s security’ campaign will be launched today, 25th
November 2007, and run on to the 24th May 2008. This campaign enables the
voices to be heard of the victims of sexual abuse in the
heavily-militarised frontier zones with the United States, or in regions
repressed by the State such as Oaxaca and Atenco.
We know that despite all obstacles to the contrary, impunity can be ended
through the collective strength of women. On 4th December 2006, women from
the Philippines won a great victory when an American soldier was declared
guilty of rape of one of their Philippine sisters. It was the first time
that an American soldier had been brought to trial for a crime under the
jurisdiction of the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) – a victory for the
exercise of National Sovereignty - and that the anti-rape law had been
enforced with a view to consolidating the rights of women.
Our organisation needs to remain very strong and deep-rooted to counter
the daily violence suffered by women in regions of conflict. We express
our solidarity with the women who struggle against violence suffered by
women – sexual abuse, rape, sexual and domestic slavery, torture, murder –
in Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, and in Darfur, Sudan. We demand
punishment for the perpetrators and the immediate resolution of these
conflicts with the participation of women in every stage of the process.
Discourses that evoke the rights of women and their need for ‘protection’
are used to justify military occupations (for example, in Afghanistan) and
the rise of racism and intolerance. In Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere not
only are a very high number of victims of war women, but it is they that
very often end up responsible for material survival in a context of
infrastructural destruction, and emotional survival in a context of total
Violence against women in not a cultural, geographical or class
phenomenon, violence is transversal and concerns all of us. We will not
allow the rhetoric of women’s rights to be used to nourish xenophobia and
the repression of immigrants.
No form of violence against women should be tolerated! On these grounds
European WMW activists have launched their ‘Not One More’ campaign, which
particularly emphasises domestic violence. They demand that laws regarding
violence against women are voted on and implemented in all their
dimensions: prevention, support centres and shelters, actions for the
economic independence of women, etc… They highlight the importance of the
work carried out by feminist associations with local populations with the
objective of confronting the causes of violence against women.
With respect to the state, our demands are many. But we also call on our
collective and individual responsibilities, women and men, to take a stand
against sexist violence wherever we encounter it.
We will march until all women are free from oppression!