This was supposed to be the European Year to End Violence against Women and Girls...

The United Nations defines violence against women as
'any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women,
including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life'
(General Assembly Resolution 48/104 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993) [1].

Violence against women and girls is one of the most systematic and widespread human rights violations.
It is rooted in gendered social structures rather than individual and random acts; it cuts across age, socio-economic, educational and geographic boundaries;
affects all societies; and is a major obstacle to ending gender inequality and discrimination globally.
(UN General Assembly, 2006) [2][3].

It is an expression of historically and culturally specific values and standards
which are today still executed through many social and political institutions that foster women’s subservience and discrimination against women and girls [4].

According to a research titled 'Global Study on Homicide 2013' by The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,
five women are killed every hour by a partner or family member globally [5].

According to the Daphne III programme, in Europe seven women die every day from male domestic violence [6][7].

Violence against women also has important economic costs for the European Union estimated at €226 billion (£203bn) by the European Institute for Gender Equality [8].

A written declaration signed by over half the Members of the European Parliament (369 MEPs or more)
has the same standing as an adopted resolution, in that it represents an official position of Parliament [9].
This was the number of MEPs who backed a written declaration on establishing a European Year of Combating Violence against Women on the 9 September 2010.
This declaration asked the Commission to establish, within the next five years, a European Year of Combating Violence against Women [10].

European Years aim to raise awareness of certain topics, encourage debate and change attitudes.
During many European Years, extra funding is provided for local, national and cross-border projects that address the Year's special topic.
The European Year can also send a strong commitment and political signal from the EU institutions and member governments that the subject will be taken into consideration in future policy-making.
In some cases, the European Commission may propose new legislation on the theme [11].

This European Year of Combating Violence against Women didn't happen.

Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, took the initiative to dedicate 2017 to ending violence against women
through a year of focused actions that aims to connect all efforts across the European Union to stop violence against women [12].

The Commission had proposed the 'year' as part of a push for the European Union to ratify the Istanbul Convention [13].
During 2017 the European Commission has launched a series of actions to combat violence against women and girls in all its forms [14][15][16].
They have also allocated €10 million to support grassroot efforts to prevent gender-based violence and support its victims in the European Union [17].

So, with all these efforts, it seems even more extraordinary that 2017 is not allowed to be recognised and listed as an official European Year,
but can only be an unofficial, informal, off-the-record one.

-Since April 2017 I have written different emails to the European Commission asking for an answer. In September 2017 they got back to me but without answering the actual question. In November 2017 they sent me a second answer with a very detailed list of the initiatives they planned for the future but again without answering my actual question. So I have written them new email asking to read the minutes of the last meeting when this matter was in the agenda-

*The numbers mentioned above regarding gender-based violence are only those related to homicide.
But the forms of gender-based violence are many and all equally devastating for the victims. The Council of Europe set up a web page that can help to understand the different kinds and find help.

[1] http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/48/a48r104.htm

[2] UN General Assembly 2006. In-depth study on all forms of violence against women. Report of the Secretary-General, A/61/122/Add.1. http://www.refworld.org/docid/484e58702.html

[3] UN General Assembly 2006. Intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women, A/RES/61/143. http://research.un.org/en/docs/ga/quick/regular/61

[4] http://endviolence.un.org/situation.shtml

[5] Global Study on Homicide. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2013. http://www.unodc.org/documents/gsh/pdfs/2014_GLOBAL_HOMICIDE_BOOK_web.pdf

[6] http://ec.europa.eu/justice/grants1/programmes-2007-2013/daphne/index_en.htm

[7] 'Estimation de la mortalité liée aux violences conjugales en Europe' (IPV EU_Mortality – 2007). http://www.psytel.eu/violences.php

[8] Estimating the costs of gender-based violence in the European Union: Report. European Institute for Gender Equality, 2014. http://eige.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/MH0414745EN2.pdf

[9] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=IM-PRESS&reference=20100909IPR81796&format=XML&language=EN

[10] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:52010IP0318

[11] https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/european-years_en

[12] NON. NO. NEIN. Say no! Stop violence against women. 2017 focused actions to combat violence against women. http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/image/document/2016-48/vaw_factsheet_40137.pdf

[13] http://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rights-channel/istanbul-convention

[14] http://ec.europa.eu/justice/saynostopvaw/

[15] http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/documents/151203_strategic_engagement_en.pdf

[16] http://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/news-2017/-/asset_publisher/StEVosr24HJ2/content/eu-signs-council-of-europe-convention-to-stop-violence-against-women?inheritRedirect=false&desktop=true

[17] http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/documents/151203_strategic_engagement_en.pdf

Girls' World
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most systematic and widespread human rights' violations.
It is rooted in gendered social structures rather than individual and random acts; it cuts across age, socio-economic, educational and geographic boundaries;
affects all societies; and is a major obstacle to ending gender inequality and discrimination globally. (UN General Assembly, 2006)

The United Nations defines violence against women as
'any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women,
including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life'
(General Assembly Resolution 48/104 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993) [1].

No country in the world is free of misogyny and violence against women and girls [2].
In some country this reality is far more evident [3].
Worldwide there are still stereotypes of misogynistic, patriarchal tendencies,
which exile girls and women to an existence of misery from the moment they are born until their death,
conditioning their chances of education and fulfilment, obliging them to a life subordinated to male society, slaves and victims of every male in their family and community.

Barbie has been a role model for generations of girls in western society, enacting their future lives and dreams with her...

[1] http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/48/a48r104.htm

[2] http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/multimedia/2015/11/infographic-violence-against-women

[3] http://evaw-global-database.unwomen.org/en
Girls' World - Missing Women -
This work is inspired by the documentary 'It's a girl : the three deadliest words in the world ' [1 ].

The term 'missing women' was first coined by the Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen in the late 1980s:
it refers to the observation that in parts of the world (predominantly Asia) the ratio of women to men is low. It is estimated that between 100 million and 200 million women are demographically 'missing', victims of selective abortion, infanticide and inadequate healthcare and nutrition: in some countries if the family is poor and there is a lack of food, they feed the boys and leave the girls to starve. The systematic killing of members of a specific sex is called gendercide. When it is because they are females, it is called femicide or feminicide.

[1] http://www.itsagirlmovie.com/
Girls' World - The Cutting Season -
'... This history matters little to the young girls brutalized and butchered as their own mothers watch, and sometimes even help to hold them down. Can there be a greater betrayal? And in the name of love! Yes, love. These mothers do not hate their daughters. They have not forgotten the brutalization they themselves endured as their own mother held them down. How could they? Surely they have not forgotten the pain. Yes they understand – as they hear their daughters' screams, echoes of their own screams of decades earlier - that without such butchery, their girls will be considered sexually out of control and unmarriageable. So they cut away to make them complete – the irony of cutting, of mutilating, to make whole!'
'... Now do you understand why mothers will hold down their daughters and block out their screams? They know what must be done, what must be suffered, what must be silenced, and what must be said for their daughters to earn a husband.'
From 'Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution' by Mona Eltahawy [1].

It is estimated that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the countries where the practice is concentrated [2].
More than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk of female genital mutilation annually.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons [3].

In the UK the 'cutting season' is when girls are flown abroad (to their family's country) to have FGM performed on them. This happens during the school summer holidays.

[1] http://www.monaeltahawy.com/

[2] http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/prevalence/en/

[3] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/
Girls' World - Scream Quietly Or The Neighbours Will Hear -
In 1971 Erin Pizzey (who started the first domestic violence shelter in the modern world [1]) wrote 'Scream Quietly Or The Neighbours Will Hear', a book documenting the experiences of battered women.

Domestic violence is nowadays defined as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

Research shows that domestic violence can be reciprocal, and that women are as equally capable of violence as men, but that it is a deeply cultural gender issue which disproportionately affects women and children [3][4][5][6].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erin_Pizzey/

[2] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-violence-and-abuse

[3] Global and regional estimates of violence against women. Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. World Health Organization 2013. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/violence/9789241564625/en/

[4] Intimate personal violence and partner abuse. Office for National Statistics 11 February 2016. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/compendium/focusonviolentcrimeandsexualoffences/yearendingmarch2015/chapter4intimatepersonalviolenceandpartnerabuse

[5] Violence Against Women and Girls Crime Report. Crown Prosecution Service September 2016. https://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/equality/vaw/

[6] The Casey Review: a review into opportunity and integration Dame Louise Casey DBE CB December 2016 . https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-casey-review-a-review-into-opportunity-and-integration/
Girls' World - The Party -
According to the World Health Organisation, female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Female genital mutilation is classified into 4 major types.

Type 1:
Often referred to as clitoridectomy, this is the partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals), and in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).
Type 2:
Often referred to as excision, this is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva), with or without excision of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva ).
Type 3:
Often referred to as infibulation, this is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, sometimes through stitching, with or without removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy).
Type 4:
This includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

FGM does not have race, religion or nationality. The practice is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and travels within communities from countries in which FGM is common making it a migratory torture.
Worldwide, about 3,000,000 (3 million) girls from infancy to 15 years of age, are thought to be at risk of FGM every year [1].

Each day, about 8,000 girls have their genital removed to control their sexuality, rip them of their dignity and identities as women and teach them to submit to a misogynistic society.

Unicef wrote in an article dated 5 February 2016 "If current trends continue the number of girls and women subjected to FMG will increase significantly over the next 15 years [2].

Every country in the Western world forbids FGM, considering it a criminal offence punishable with jail. Unfortunately this doesn't stop families to cut their girls: some are taken abroad whereas others are cut in the West, often at what is known as a 'cutting party' where an FGM practitioner (known generally as a ‘cutter’) is brought in to cut several girls at a time.

[1] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

[2] https://www.unicef.org/esaro/5440_2016_new-report-on-fgm.html
Girls' World - The Little Princesses' Special Game -
Child sexual abuse is defined as the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent, or that violates the laws or social taboos of society [1].

Research predominantly shows child sexual abuse is perpetrated against female children [2]. However, Sexual abuse of boys is far more common than generally believed .

Worldwide it is difficult to have numbers for child sexual abuse because generally they are not reported until the victims become teenagers or adults. Often these crimes are not disclosed, detected or reported because they are generally crimes only witnessed by the abuser and the victim. Although the abusers can be women, most child sexual abuse is committed by men. Sexual abuse can be physical, verbal or emotional and the perpetrator is usually very closed to the victim [3].

[1] Guidelines for medico-legal care for victims of sexual violence - chapter 7. World Health Organization 2003.http://www.who.int/gender-equity-rights/knowledge/924154628x/en/

[2] The prevalence of child sexual abuse in community and student samples: A meta-analysis. June 2009. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272735809000245

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_sexual_abuse

Girls' World - It's Her Fault -
Rape is the most under reported crime worldwide. Even though a significant proportion of boys and men suffer sexual violence, the majority of rape victims are girls and women [1].
Throughout the world there is a sexist blame culture that frequently considers the victims responsible for being raped because they were in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people or attitude and wearing the wrong clothes.
In some countries when victims are not actually killed by their rapist, they are often sentenced to jail, corporal punishment and sometimes even condemned to death from their judicial system.
Sometimes they are killed by their own family because of the shame they bring to the family because they have been raped.

In some countries there are laws to force underage girls that are the victims of rape to marry their rapists, therefore legitimising the criminal abuse of young girls. These girls are destined to a life of horror so that their rapists can escape punishment and thus salvage their own honour.

[1] Understanding and addressing violence against women. Sexual Violence. World Health Organization 2012. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/violence/vaw_series/en/
Girls' World - Every Girls' Dream -
Child marriage, defined as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18, is a reality for both boys and girls, although girls are disproportionately the most affected. Child marriage is widespread and can lead to a lifetime of disadvantage and deprivation.

Evidence shows that girls who marry early often abandon formal education and become pregnant. Maternal deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth are an important component of mortality for girls aged 15–19 worldwide, accounting for 70,000 deaths each year. If a mother is under the age of 18, her infant’s risk of dying in its first year of life is 60 per cent greater than that of an infant born to a mother older than 19. Even if the child survives, he or she is more likely to suffer from low birth weight, under nutrition and late physical and cognitive development.
Child brides are at risk of violence, abuse and exploitation. Finally, child marriage often results in separation from family and friends and lack of freedom to participate in community activities, which can all have major consequences on girls’ mental and physical well-being.

Where prevalent, child marriage functions as a social norm. Marrying girls under 18 years old is rooted in gender discrimination, encouraging premature and continuous child bearing and giving preference to boys’ education. Child marriage is also a strategy for economic survival as families marry off their daughters at an early age to reduce their economic burden [1][2].

Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 28 girls every minute. 1 every 2 seconds [3].

[1] https://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_58008.html

[2] https://www.unicef.org/sowc09/

[3] http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/about-child-marriage/
Girls' World - Red: The Colour of Your Shame -
To be born male or female is not a choice, it is like breathing air, it just happens.
If you are born female it is not a choice to have menstruation. Menstruation, also known as 'monthly period', is part of the female reproductive cycle that starts when girls become sexually mature, generally at the time of puberty (12-15); it may occasionally start as early as eight. The menstrual cycle is the regular natural change that occurs in the female reproductive system (specifically the uterus and ovaries) that makes pregnancy possible. The cycle is required for the production of ovocytes, and for the preparation of the uterus for pregnancy [1].

Despite the menstrual cycle being part of the natural cycle of human existence, taboos about menstruation are nearly universal: menstruation is perceived as unclean or embarrassing, a topic that cannot be mentioned in public [2].

Similar taboos exist across religions [3]. The extent to which religious rules about menstruation are still followed is not clear, but in some parts of the world girls are still even 'punished' for their bleeding shame.

In parts of rural Western Nepal thousands of Hindu girls and women practice chhaupadi. During their monthly period they are believed to be 'impure' and therefore kept out of their homes and confined to live in a cattle shed or a makeshift hut. They are even banned from eating nutritious food, going to temple, school and touching animals or men [4].

* This work has been realised in February 2017. On Wednesday 9th August 2017, the Nepalese parliament successfully passed a law that criminalises chhaupadi. The legislation will come into force in a year [5].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_cycle

[2] https://aeon.co/essays/throughout-history-and-still-today-women-are-shamed-for-menstruating

[3] http://ispub.com/IJWH/5/2/8213#

[4] Documentary produced for Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Mainstreaming Gender Equality Program (MGEP) and United Nations Development program (UNDP) by Creative Arts & Media Association (CAMA) 2004. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mZlXIfUrgA

[5] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-40885748


Adam & Eve
Female genital mutilation (FGM), rape and circumcision are not bound by race or religion.
These practices are widespread throughout the world: practices which are rooted in centuries of social and cultural traditions and in centuries of unequal power relations between human beings.

I referred to sources from the World Health Organization for both FGM [1] [2] and circumcision data. [3] [4]

Both men and women perpetrate sexual violence, however the vast majority of sexual offences are committed by men.
In this work my numbers only refer to men committing rape, which is defined as a type of sexual assault involving penetration of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without that person's consent.
I have tried to make an educated estimate of the amount of men committing this crime, not only considering male-female rape, but trying to consider all assaults perpetrated against women, children, transgender and other men.

I have based my numbers on long research through published papers and reports and online literature. [5] [6] [7] [8}

After 2 years of work I have arrived at the conclusion that it is almost impossible to have a realistic estimate of the number of men worldwide who commit rape per year.
Not only is the accuracy of country by country statistics seemingly random because rape is so severely under-reported due to the extreme social stigma attached, but police recorded crime statistics are also not necessarily trustworthy. There is strong evidence that the police under-record crime to meet numerical targets and connected incentives. This is a reality not only in less developed, more corrupt countries where respect for human rights is only a distant dream, but also in countries such as the UK where respect for the rights of every human being is supposedly at the very heart of the social structure. [9]

In many countries data is not collected at all and where they are it is very fragmented and generally made on population based samples.
In some regions rape is not even considered a criminal offence.
In countries such as; China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and India marital rape is legal.
In some countries rape is even institutionalised. In India and Pakistan, for instance, girls and women can be sentenced from orders of a tribal council to be gang raped as a punishment.
In United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia rape is not reported because rape victims are guilty of ‘illicit sex’, imprisoned for extramarital sex and subjected to corporal punishment.
In many countries rape is rarely reported, due to the social stigma cast on those who have been raped and for the fear of being subjected to violence from their own family (honour killing).
In war zones (during armed conflicts) rape can be used as military strategy, as a weapon, on girls, boys, women and men and it is impossible to quantify a number. [10]
Worldwide it is difficult to have numbers for child rape because generally these abuses aren’t reported until the victims become teenagers or adults who finally find the courage to speak out many years later.
Worldwide it is impossible to quantify a number for rape on people with intellectual disabilities.
Worldwide it is impossible to define a number for rape on vulnerable adults.
Worldwide it is impossible to define a number for rape in the military.
Worldwide it is impossible to define a number for rape in jail.
Worldwide it is impossible to define a number for human beings that have been exploited against their will in sex trafficking. [11]
Worldwide the rape of men is still such a taboo subject that no country has realistic numbers.
Worldwide it is impossible to have statistics about transgender rape because in many countries they are obliged to live secret lives, thus accepting every abuse in silence to avoid further consequences / violence.
Worldwide statistical data available on child marriage is not representative of the scale of the problem because most child marriages are unregistered and take place as unofficial religious marriages. Child marriage is still widespread as part of the cultural tradition in developing countries such as Africa, India and Latin America. In communities based on Sharia law it is a common practice to marry a girl less than 13 years old, so the issue is also spreading globally in developed countries.

For all these reasons, it is impossible to have an accurate number for the amount of men committing rape and I have had to accept to use an educated estimate to achieve the impact of this work. I hope that one day this horrible endemic plague will be less widespread and deeply rooted and meanwhile increased research will be able to achieve a more accurate number.

It has been at the heart of this work from the beginning to try and provide very direct facts and numbers to create awareness and discomfort to give the viewer a reason to feel a real involvement in problems that we think are much further away from reality than they actually are.

[1] Eliminating female genital mutilation. An interagency statement. World Health Organization 2008. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/fgm/9789241596442/en/

[2] Understanding and addressing violence against women. Female genital mutilation. World Health Organization 2012. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/violence/vaw_series/en/

[3] Neonatal and child male circumcision: a global review. World Health Organization 2010. http://www.who.int/hiv/pub/malecircumcision/neonatal_mc/en/

[4] Male circumcision: Global trends and determinants of prevalence, safety and acceptability. World Health Organization 2007. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/rtis/9789241596169/en/

[5] Rape Perpetration: A Review. Sexual Violence Research Initiative 2012. http://www.svri.org/sites/default/files/attachments/2016-04-13/RapePerpetration.pdf

[6] Sexual violence against women: The scope of the problem. 2013. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1521693412001228

[7] Understanding and addressing violence against women. Sexual Violence. World Health Organization 2012. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/violence/vaw_series/en/

[8] World report on violence and health - Sexual violence - chapter 6. World Health Organization 2002. http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/chapters/en/

[9] PASC report, Caught red-handed: Why we can’t rely on Police Recorded Crime published 09/04/2014. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpubadm/760/76002.htm

[10] Wartime Sexual Violence: Misconceptions, Implications, and Ways Forward. Usip 2013. http://www.usip.org/publications/wartime-sexual-violence-misconceptions-implications-and-ways-forward

[11] Understanding and addressing violence against women. Human Trafficking. World Health Organization 2012. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/violence/vaw_series/en/
8th - 14th March 2017 http://berlinfeministfilmweek.com/


With all my Love, Forever, Dad

A reflection on the long term consequences of family violence.


Triptych for Little Girls

This work investigates the consequences that centuries of education, tailored by a patriarchal society, have given to generations of women making them loose their identity and sense of reality.

Selected for
6th – 12th March 2017 https://shefest.wordpress.com/


Sono Cittadina d...  (I am Citizen of...)

Urban political performance about human beings' state in this world of globalization.


Rosso  (Red)

Thoughts on the first cut of a self harming person.


Triptych  (Insospensione - Inmetamorfosi - Inessere)

This work, through three different stages, explores the connections between the human body, time, transformation, nature, matter and the emotions..

Un solo Giorno di Tristezza  (Only One day of Sadness)

A combination of Italian tv images and world newspapers about 11 September 2001.