Violence Against Women, Peace and Security

Patriarchal Violence against Women is the Biggest Threat to Women's Peace and Security
 
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One of the biggest obstacles to women´s peace and security is violence against women. Security politics is conceptualized on identifying the threats from “outside” national borders while these threats come for women most often “within” the relations of their affiliations. However, the security policy often fails to reach there as the security of women has been moved to the "private" sphere, to be taken care of the nearest: family male members and husbands, who are most often the abuser. EU has adopted European Security and Defense Policy but there is still a considerable resistance to develop a common European strategy to curb violence against women.
 
Women are subject to violence not because they are more vulnerable than men, but because the universal patriarchal gender power order in all the societies, privileges men with power over women. In order to keep this privileged position, men are exercising different forms of control: threats, psychological violence to physical, sexualized violence and murder. The subordinated position of women in peace makes them even more exposed when a military conflict erupts. Independently of the different nature of conflicts and occupations, there is universality in all of them: the marginalization and control over women increases and this control becomes synonymous with the control of the whole community.
 
Continuous militarization of the world stands on the way to gender equality and social development and has crucial place in maintaining male dominance in society in peace. Militarism also asserts hard masculinity that favors violence to protect peace and a weak femininity in need for protection. However, to be protected means in advance to be subordinate – which excludes the possibility for real participation of women. It is how women’s absence from decision-making within the international security is sustained, and where peace itself has been given a subordinate status to war.
 
The IFE-EFI works to expose the structures of violence against women in peace and war and to reinforce feminist analyses and a feminist vision of global justice where transnational alliances against militarism and the military are fundamental building blocks, in order to put human security that includes violence against women on the top of the political agendas.
 
See conclusions and address to the European Parliament, European Commission and national governments from the participants of the European feminist conference “Security in Europe for whom?” (European Parliament, Brussels 18-19 /09 2006).