President of Ukraine

Olena Zelenska joins 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign

25 November 2022 - 17:24

Olena Zelenska joins 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska joined the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which runs worldwide from November 25 to December 10. It aims at drawing attention to this topic and calling for the prevention and elimination of all forms of gender-based violence.

This year, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with the support of the governments of Ukraine, the UK, Canada, and the United States, organized a campaign under the "Sensitivity Overcomes Violence" slogan. In 60 cities and communities throughout Ukraine, mosaics with images of various forms of violence have been installed. The installation is made of magnets, so by taking one of them, people make the negative image gradually disappear. Instead, the phrase "Sensitivity Overcomes Violence" appears.

Since the beginning of 2022, the National Police of Ukraine has received 120,000 reports on domestic violence cases. In addition, 98% of calls to the 1547 hotline for victims relate to domestic violence.

"War makes us tougher, more resistant, more resilient. We get used to everyday problems, air raid alerts, we get used to making difficult decisions. But there are some things you can't get used to even during war. Especially during the war. On the contrary, it is during the war that we must become many times more attentive to the needs of others, even of people that we don't know, to their despair. And it is no less important to be attentive to your own problems. It is impossible not to pay attention to cases of cruelty and abuse, moral or physical pressure, hoping to "somehow endure" them. You can't close your eyes to what hurts. War is not an excuse for domestic evil," Zelenska said.

The first lady said that Ukraine, going to Europe, has worked for years at the level of state initiatives, the educational process and civil society to combat and prevent domestic violence, school bullying, etc.

And during nine months of the full-scale war, the country did not stop moving along the path of change. An example of this is Ukraine's ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which entered into force on November 1 of this year and became a new stage in the fight against violence. In addition, it is an additional instrument for the protection of temporarily displaced Ukrainians abroad.

The first lady urged not to silence cases of domestic violence, but to counter them.

"We are not like our enemy. We are human. We are responsive. Every day of war tests us for loyalty to these principles. And we will definitely protect them," Zelenska said.