Thank you for joining in the screening of the film “Speak Up” which shows the gravity of the effects violence can have on women and men, encouraging viewers to stand up to gender based violence, and discussion on the role of media in preventing domestic violence and violence against women.

The issue is deeply concerning the whole world and Tajikistan is not an exception. According to 2017 demographic health survey in Tajikistan, 24 percent of women reported to have experienced physical abuse, many starting from the age of 15! 31 percent of ever-married women in the survey had experienced abuse from their spouses. Yet, only ten women sought help to stop the abuse.

The impact of domestic violence is much larger than many people may imagine. Clearly, it impacts the dignity and quality of life of the abused person, but it also impacts the lives of all members of the family, including the abuser. This is particularly true, if children witness such abuse, carrying the negative effects through generations.

The Law on Domestic Violence adopted in 2013 is a crucial step towards giving higher protection to the most vulnerable. However, huge efforts are required to ensure its public awareness. Also, the law in itself will not change the situation unless social norms are changed. As long as there is a notion that women can be punished if she does not obey her husband or her elders and, as long as, families think that women should keep quiet about abuse to keep the family honor, women will continue to be subject to violence, abuse, emotional torture, and rape.

We are supporting the state’s civil registration reform to ensure proper and timely registration of civil acts, which are basically legal tools for women and children to exercise their rights, but which they often lack for many reasons.

Jointly with other UN agencies and in partnership with the government we have also launched the EU funded Spotlight Initiative to contribute to the elimination of gender-based violence. The aim is to contribute to the National Development Strategy and support Tajikistan in the implementation of its commitment to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). 

The role of journalists in telling the stories, in becoming the voice of women; using their pens to make invisible suffering visible to the society is extremely important.

I am very happy to see a group of journalists in our office and looking forward to hearing from you on how you can contribute and how we can help you in raising voice to stop domestic and other forms of violence. 

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