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Violence against women in Ukraine and war in Donbas

Violence against women in Ukraine and war in Donbas
Article by: Serhiy Drachuk
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This problem is still pertinent in the entire world, particularly in Ukraine – especially during an armed conflict, human rights activists note.

Violence against women is a violation of human rights, a result of discrimination against women in legislation and in practice and lack of equality, emphasizes the United Nations, which introduced the Day to combat this type of violence.

Every year, the 16 days between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women until Human Rights Day on December 10 are traditionally considered Days Against Gender Violence.

In Ukraine the topic of eliminating violence against women is still relevant

These days, which have been celebrated in Ukraine at the state level for a significant number of years, are still relevant for Ukraine, says public relations manager at the International Women’s Rights Center La Strada Ukraine Lisa Ray.

According to her, “first, the problem of domestic violence, which is quite widespread in Ukraine, is not disappearing.”

In an interview to Radio Liberty Lisa Ray said: “If we are even talking about official statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, there are about 150 thousand plaints a year in this regard. However, we understand that this is official data regarding appeals to law enforcement. A lot of women do not ask for help, accordingly, civil organizations conclude that this number constitutes only 10-15 percent of the real number of instances, the real scale of the problem.”

Besides, Lisa Ray says, gender discrimination is still prevalent in Ukraine, which has to be taken into account and given appropriate importance. “A woman cannot always have full access to the job market, women, especially young mothers, are frequently refused employment. Women’s and men’s salaries in Ukraine at the same posts can differ by 25-30 percent, so quite significantly,” says the human rights activist.

“Essentially, all these problems frequently cause Ukrainian women to hope to find a better future outside the country, and if they do so without ensuring themselves beforehand, they may get involved in human trafficking,” she adds.

Wartime violence – now in Ukraine

The issue which coincides with the global topic of the 16 day campaign this year is also very pertinent in Ukraine now – women and armed conflicts. What is happening in Ukraine now is seen all over the world in such situations – during war, women are subject to additional violence.

“It is no secret that instances of rape grow in the operation zone, it is no secret that mercenaries frequently use women and children as live shields, which is unacceptable according to humanitarian law. However, this happens, unfortunately,” emphasizes human rights activist Lisa Ray.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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