Violence against women has been increasing worldwide and there is not one single international convention binding nations to prevent acts of violence against women and girls, said Vice-President of Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi.
Speaking at a conference on ‘Analysis of Violence Against Women,’ in Tehran on Wednesday, she said the UN General Assembly has only designated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Nov. 25), reports Borna News Agency.
“Every society must define and evolve a convention on domestic violence according to its national laws,” she noted.
One in three women in the world is a victim of physical violence, and 35% of all women have experienced it at least once in their lifetime.
Domestic violence may ensue when one partner feels the need to control and dominate the other. This domination can take the form of emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
“Abusers may feel the need to control their partner when they feel inferior to them in education or socioeconomic backgrounds. Tradition, customs and conflict of interest are some of the other reasons,” Molaverdi said.
Underlining that domestic violence imposes huge financial and mental burden on a society, she stressed the importance of raising awareness and promoting women’s status.
She also called for criminalizing domestic violence. “The male chauvinistic approach should change, and men should get more involved in household chores and rearing children,” she added.
Cyberspace has turned into a potent weapon for abuse of young people “since it has no boundaries or limits.” Strategies should focus on preventive action to stop abuse, she told the conferees.
At a separate conference dubbed ‘Women, Security, and Sustainable Development’ on Thursday, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province, Molaverdi called for austere preventive action against social ills, including physical abuse.
“Ensuring security for women is on the agenda of the next five-year economic development plan,” IRNA quoted her as saying.
Recalling the measures taken in this regard during the previous administration’s tenure, she pointed to the ‘Protect Women Against Violence Bill’ devised in cooperation with the Judiciary.
The bill focused on protection of women and the prevention of violence against them, including human trafficking, efficacious protection and services for victims of abuse, rehabilitation and better processes in interrogation of female offenders.
It was on the Majlis (Parliament) agenda during the week ending September 16, 2011. But the comprehensive bill comprising 81 articles and 5 notes, “was censured by the Majlis Commission on Bills, and was withdrawn from the agenda close to the end of the previous administration’s tenure,” Molaverdi rued.
“It has again been raised by the incumbent government,” she said expressing hope that the bill would be ratified by the legislature and be implemented in the next five-year economic development plan (2016-2021).
As per Article 23 of the Fifth Five-Year Economic, Social and Cultural Development Plan (2011-2016), preventing social ills and revising the existing laws are assigned to the Vice-Presidency for Women and Family Affairs but need to be implemented in cooperation with other executive bodies.
A national document on preventing domestic violence is being drafted by the Health Ministry, and will be proposed to the ministry’s Health Policy Council, she said.
“A program to revise some traditional marriage customs which may be harmful to women’s wellbeing, including underage marriage, is also under consideration.”
Underscoring the huge direct and indirect costs and the ramifications of domestic violence on a society, she called for closer cooperation between public and private institutions, including NGO’s, to address the issue.