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“Women and Rights” Campaign calls on society and government to end violence and promote gender equality

Initiative to be launched this Friday (5/8) in Rio de Janeiro, with the participation of Maria da Penha, Minister Luiza Bairros (Racial Equality) and Subsecretary for Countering Violence Against Women, Aparecida Gonçalves (Women’s Policies). With pieces focusing men, women in situations of violence and populations in Brazil’s North and Northeast regions, the campaign highlights the importance of the Maria da Penha Law and services for women in situations of violence

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the sanctioning of the Maria da Penha Law (Law No. 11,340/06), the United Nations, through its Joint Team on AIDS, together with the Maria da Penha Institute other partners will launch the campaign “Women and Rights”, this Friday (5/8), at 10.30 a.m. in Rio de Janeiro. Participating in the launch ceremony will be Maria da Penha Maia Fernandes, whose survival story lead to the creation of the law; Racial Equality Minister Luiza Bairros; Subsecretary for Countering Violence Against Women, Aparecida Gonçalves; Federal Congresswoman Jandira Feghali; the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Brazil, Jorge Chediek; the Coordinator of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Brazil, Pedro Chequer; the Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Brazil, Harold Robinson; the Programme Coordinator of UN Women - the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Júnia Puglia; the campaign’s actors and actresses; civil society representatives and other authorities.

Whilst raising the Brazilian population’s awareness about reducing violence and promoting gender equality and women’s health, the “Women and Rights” campaign highlights the importance of the Maria da Penha Law and the network of services for women in situations of violence in Brazil, such as the 180 telephone Women’s Helpline, police stations for women, sheltered housing, special courts and criminal courts, specialized services etc..

Through three videos the “Women and Rights” campaign focuses on the following audiences: men, women in situations of violence and populations in Brazil’s North and Northeast regions.

An emblematic case worldwide

All the pieces of the “Women and Rights” campaign feature the Bio Pharmacist Maria da Penha Maia Fernandes, who was battered by her husband for six years and suffered two attempts of murder: in one of the attempts she was shot and left paraplegic; in the other she was electrocuted and almost drowned. A survivor in search of her rights, Maria da Penha gained the support of women’s movements and submitted her case to the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Among the recommendations made by the OAS in 2001 was the creation of a law to prevent, punish and eliminate violence against women, and that Maria da Penha should receive compensation. This finally happened seven years after the OAS made its suggestion and 25 years after she suffered the two murder attempts.

According to UN research, one in every three women will be a victim of violence at some time in their life. The elimination of violence is one of the priorities UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, reinforced by the campaign “UNiTE to End Violence Against Women” the goal of which is to mobilize a variety of audiences by 2015, including men leaders, youth, non-traditional communities and the media.

Innovative language

The first video of the “Women and Rights” campaign is aimed at men. Actors Milton Gonçalves and Bernardo Mesquita and dancer Carlinhos de Jesus call on the male population to put an end to violence against women. The video presents recent data on violence against women, published in 2010 by the Perseu Abramo Foundation, showing that one in four men knows of a close relative who has hit their wife and that almost half of all men have friend or acquaintance who assault their wives. In the video the actors talk about the progress made by women in Brazilian society and take a stand for gender equality, in a reference to the strategic role men can play in eliminating violence against women.

In the second film four women – one Black, one Indigenous, one White and the other middle-aged – seek help in a police station for women. The sequence records the moment when the women decide they’ve had enough of violence and turn to public services for help. The video shows that violence against women affects all women, regardless of race, ethnicity, social class or age, in addition to highlighting the important role of specialized police stations for women victims.

In the third film two women from the country’s North and Northeast regions – one Black and the other Indigenous – wash clothes in a river and talk about the first signs of violence, when men start to try to control their lives. This video was produced inspired on the indigenous and riverside communities of North and Northeast Brazil, and who were consulted through the United Nations Integrated Plan for the State of Amazonas (“Amazonaids”), as a tool for raising the awareness of the local population.

More investments: policies for women

In Brazil on average 10 women are murdered every day and 70% of assaults against women occur at home. The phenomenon of violence in the country is an issue that brings new challenges for government and society. These include expanding the network of services for women in situations of violence and increased investment in public policies focusing women’s autonomy.

The “Women and Rights” campaign is an initiative of the United Nations, through its Joint Team on AIDS, and its partners. It is lead by UNAIDS – the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS; UN Women – the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women; UNFPA – the United Nations Population Fund; UNICEF – the United Nations Children’s Fund; UNIC Rio – the United Nations Information Centre in Brazil and is subscribed in partnership with the Maria da Penha Institute. The films were produced by the Documenta Filmes studio, directed by Angela Zoé and coordinated by [X] Brasil Publicidade em Causas/Daniel de Souza. The campaign’s original symbol, created based on concepts defined by the United Nations, is signed by designer Jair de Souza.

Available on Friday (5/8) after 10 am Brasilia time:

www.onu.org.br/a-onu-em-acao/a-onu-em-acao/videos
www.youtube.com/user/UNAIDSBR
www.unaids.org.br

 

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