Nordic women against violence demand that talking about gender perspective is kept legitimate and gender based violence is taken seriously. We are deeply concerned about the backlash going on in Europe and appeal to the decisionmakers and politicians also representing our own countries to not let this happen in silence but assertively stand for the unconditional implementation of human rights.

Nordic women against violence -network come together this weekend to the 25th conference, the theme of which is Talking about gender perspective after #metoo. The network consists of NGOs running shelters and offering other forms of support. The worldwide #metoo movement showed how largely gender based harassment and violence is spread and how deeply it is rooted in our societies. But it also made talking about it and taking actions against it more accepted than before.

It is our duty to ensure that we take initiatives and make changes to strengthen equality and safety in our societies. This means promoting laws that acknowledge gender perspective and the right to live a life free from violence – it is not yet clear even in all Nordic countries that the difference between sex and rape is consent.

It means also that we must redefine and enlarge the gender role models we offer our children and youth. On one side we need to discuss gender equality and role models in schools and at homes, and on the other side we need to work against the violent and oppressive gender roles that we have around us every day and which ordinary people keep consuming – for example porn, which even children have access to by just a few clicks in their smartphones and tablets.

During this weekend we were able to talk about these themes, share information and experiences of how to prevent gender based violence, how to help the victims and how to engage also men in the cultural changes we need.

It is an outrage, that this is no longer possible everywhere in Europe. We have heard bad news from several Eastern European countries: NGOs are in difficulties, even threatened. Violence against women is not any more seen as a crime and as a violation of human rights in some countries. Furthermore, universities have been sent draft decrees calling for the abolition of all master’s programs in Gender Studies. This backlash must be stopped!

The network of Nordic Women Against Violence appeal to all the decisionmakers and politicians of our own countries to not let this happen in silence but unite and assertively stand for the unconditional implementation of human rights, and to demand the ratification and full implementation of the Istanbul convention in all countries.

In Helsinki, 7.-9.9.2018

Nordic women against violence -network:

Danmark:         LOKK – landsorganisation af kvindekrisecentre
Grönland:         Krisecentret i Nuuk
Finland:             Federation of Mother and child homes and Shelters
Färöarna:          Kvinnuhúsið – Krisecentret
Island:                Stigamot – education and counceling center for survivors of sexual abuse and violence
Norge:               Krisesentersekretariatet
Sverige:             ROKS – Riksorganisationen för kvinnojourer och tjejjourer i Sverige och
UNIZON – Sveriges kvinno- och tjejjourrers riksförbund