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…Iz kruga — Vojvodina at the European commission in Brussels: Presentation of a report on violence against multiply marginalized women and girls

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On 5 Novem­ber, …IZ KRUGAVOJVODINA Orga­ni­za­tion par­tic­i­pat­ed in the pre­sen­ta­tion of a research study report ana­lyz­ing the exist­ing approach­es to vio­lence against women and girls in the West­ern Balka­ns and Turkey host­ed by Euro­pean Com­mis­sion (EC) in Brus­sels. The report find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions were pre­sent­ed both to rep­re­sen­ta­tives of EC and Coun­cil of Europe, as well as Euro­pean Union (EU) Del­e­ga­tions’ staff from Alba­nia, Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina, For­mer Yugoslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia, Ser­bia and Turkey.
The ‘A Thou­sand Ways to Solve Our Prob­lems’: An Analy­sis of Exist­ing Vio­lence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Approach­es for Minori­tized Women and Girls in the West­ern Balka­ns and Turkey research study has been con­duct­ed by a British fem­i­nist orga­ni­za­tion Imkaan with­in the frame­work of the UN Women Imple­ment­ing Norms, Chang­ing Minds Pro­gramme aim­ing at end­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion and gen­der-based vio­lence against women. This pro­gramme, sup­port­ed by EU, pays spe­cial atten­tion to expe­ri­ence of women and girls from mul­ti­ply mar­gin­al­ized social groups, such as women with dis­abil­i­ties, women from eth­nic minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties, rur­al women, etc.
The mod­er­a­tor of the research study report pre­sen­ta­tion enti­tled Inter­sec­tion­al Approach­es to End­ing Gen­der-Based Dis­crim­i­na­tion and Vio­lence Against Women was Gen­ove­va Ruiz Calav­era, the Direc­tor for the West­ern Balka­ns of the EC Direc­torate Gen­er­al for Neigh­bour­hood and Enlarge­ment Nego­ti­a­tions. In her intro­duc­to­ry address, she high­light­ed that prin­ci­ples of non-dis­crim­i­na­tion and equal oppor­tu­ni­ties advo­cat­ed by the report about to be pre­sent­ed are human rights cor­ner­stones. All EU mem­ber states, as well as coun­tries aspir­ing to join it, must do every­thing in their pow­er to make human rights obser­va­tion and pro­vid­ing for their exer­cise and pro­tec­tion a real­i­ty for all their cit­i­zens, includ­ing women from mul­ti­ply mar­gin­al­ized groups. Yolan­da Iri­arte from the UN Women West­ern Balka­ns and Turkey Region­al Office empha­sized the impor­tance of a gen­der-sen­si­tive insight into the real­i­ties of minori­tized women, doc­u­ment­ing their expe­ri­ence and edu­cat­ing the broad­est pub­lic about their posi­tion and chal­lenges they had been fac­ing. With­out such a com­pre­hen­sive approach, advo­cat­ing for sys­temic improve­ment of the posi­tion of women from mul­ti­ply mar­gin­al­ized social groups at high­est lev­els, an incen­tive this pre­sen­ta­tion was a part of, would have had remained a major chal­lenge, said Iri­arte.
Marai Larasi, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Imkaan, spoke about the sig­nif­i­cance of col­lect­ing expe­ri­ence of women sur­vivors of gen­der-based vio­lence orig­i­nat­ing from mul­ti­ply mar­gin­al­ized groups. Lit­tle is known or talked about their lives. There­fore, their social mar­gin­al­iza­tion remains undoc­u­ment­ed, with no wit­ness accounts or evi­dence to con­firm it, as if it has nev­er been hap­pen­ing, nor will it hap­pen ever again. This is why infor­ma­tion and data on pro­vid­ing tai­lor-made, spe­cial­ized sup­port ser­vices to women from mar­gin­al­ized groups for the pur­pos­es of the ‘A Thou­sand Ways to Solve Our Prob­lems’: An Analy­sis of Exist­ing Vio­lence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Approach­es for Minori­tized Women and Girls in the West­ern Balka­ns and Turkey research study have been col­lect­ed rely­ing on inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty. Besides their gen­der, this approach takes into account oth­er iden­ti­ty lay­ers of women affect­ed by gen­der-based vio­lence (such as their eth­nic­i­ty, race, dis­abil­i­ty, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, etc.), along with the dom­i­nant social dis­cours­es as fac­tors con­tribut­ing to women’s mul­ti­ple mar­gin­al­iza­tion. Neha Kagal, one of the Imkaan researchers, pre­sent­ed the research study key chal­lenges and rec­om­men­da­tions. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of ‘by and for’ orga­ni­za­tions work­ing in women’s rights and gen­der-based vio­lence pre­ven­tion of Roma and eth­nic minor­i­ty women, women with dis­abil­i­ties and rur­al women in Alba­nia, Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina, Mace­do­nia, Ser­bia and Koso­vo illus­trat­ed the research study find­ings with case stud­ies from their every­day work.
Infor­ma­tion, data and expe­ri­ence pre­sent­ed in ‘A Thou­sand Ways to Solve Our Prob­lems’: An Analy­sis of Exist­ing Vio­lence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Approach­es for Minori­tized Women and Girls in the West­ern Balka­ns and Turkey research study have been col­lect­ed from 42 ‘by and for’ orga­ni­za­tions in the West­ern Balka­ns and Turkey. Such orga­ni­za­tions pro­vide spe­cial­ized ser­vices to minori­tized women that are oth­er­wise unavail­able to them with­in the exist­ing frame­work of sup­port mech­a­nisms for women sur­vivors of gen­der-based vio­lence. The expe­ri­ence of these orga­ni­za­tions bears wit­ness of incom­pat­i­bil­i­ty of the exist­ing gen­er­al ser­vices with the needs of women from mag­i­nal­ized social groups, as well as the obsta­cles faced by spe­cial­ized ‘by and for’ orga­ni­za­tions pro­vid­ing ade­quate, needs-based ser­vices and sup­port to these women in their local com­mu­ni­ties, the orga­ni­za­tions oth­er­wise usu­al­ly less known to the gen­er­al pub­lic.
The major chal­lenges in the work of such orga­ni­za­tions are inac­ces­si­bil­i­ty of oth­er­wise legal­ly pro­scribed, manda­to­ry ser­vices for women sur­vivors of vio­lence, sys­temic dis­crim­i­na­tion, inad­e­quate fund­ing pri­or­i­ties con­cern­ing sup­port-pro­vi­sion to minori­tized women, as well as a pro­found lack of under­stand­ing of the need for inter­sec­tion­al approach to the phe­nom­e­non of vio­lence against women. Indi­ra Bajramović from the Bet­ter Future Orga­ni­za­tion from Tuzla, Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina, Man­jo­la Veizi from the Roma Women’s Rights Cen­ter from Tirana, Alba­nia, Antig­o­na Aljilji from the Women’s Forum Asso­ci­a­tion from Teto­vo, Mace­do­nia, and Anki­ca Dra­gin from Orga­ni­za­tion Pro­vid­ing Sup­port to Women with Dis­abil­i­ties …IZ KRUGAVOJVODINA from Novi Sad, Ser­bia, brought these chal­lenges to life at the research study pre­sen­ta­tion event by shar­ing the expe­ri­ence of their orga­ni­za­tions’ every­day real­i­ties.
IZ KRUGAVOJVODINA pre­sent­ed the research study find­ings indi­cat­ing that ser­vices for women expe­ri­enc­ing gen­der-based vio­lence are archi­tec­tural­ly and infor­ma­tion-wise inac­ces­si­ble to women with dis­abil­i­ties. Besides reflect­ing basic lack of under­stand­ing of the posi­tion of women with dis­abil­i­ties in the con­text of gen­der-based vio­lence, such state of affairs indi­cates that there is still ample space for improve­ment of the exist­ing ser­vices, as well as the way rel­e­vant insti­tu­tion relate to and han­dle their legal oblig­a­tions con­cern­ing the needs, posi­tion and rights of women with dis­abil­i­ties.
Out of the total of 54 rec­om­men­da­tions of the ‘A Thou­sand Ways to Solve Our Prob­lems’: An Analy­sis of Exist­ing Vio­lence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Approach­es for Minori­tized Women and Girls in the West­ern Balka­ns and Turkey research study, sev­er­al are deemed key to improve­ment of the posi­tion of minori­tized women and girls expe­ri­enc­ing gen­der-based vio­lence. There is a need for a more com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of the phe­nom­e­non of gen­der-based vio­lence against women and girls as a com­bi­na­tion of unequal social posi­tion of women and men and their belong­ing to mar­gin­al­ized social groups. Besides the need to pro­vide minori­tized women with a phys­i­cal­ly, pro­fes­sion­al­ly infra­struc­ture- and com­mu­ni­ca­tion-wise improved access to ser­vices for women sur­vivors of gen­der-based vio­lence, it is nec­es­sary to cre­ate con­di­tions for funds allo­cat­ed for the work of spe­cial­ized women’s grass­roots orga­ni­za­tions to both match these women’s needs and sup­port the work and devel­op­ment of ‘by and for’ orga­ni­za­tions. The forth­com­ing state-induced licens­ing process aimed at orga­ni­za­tions pro­vid­ing sup­port to women expe­ri­enc­ing gen­der-based vio­lence must be imple­ment­ed in a way that pro­vides space for licens­ing of spe­cial ser­vices pack­ages pro­vid­ing sup­port to women from mul­ti­ply mar­gin­al­ized social groups.

Writ­ten and trans­lat­ed from Ser­bian by Anki­ca Dra­gin

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