Kosovo, March 8 is marked by calls against violence against women

With the cries of “We march, we don’t celebrate”, groups of activists marched in Pristina on Wednesday to mark March 8 – International Women’s Day.

The parade started in front of the Palace of Justice, where activists drew attention to the high rate of violence against women in Kosovo.

“As a survivor of domestic violence, since I reported the case in 2021, it has been two years that I have been fighting for justice and my rights. For approximately two years I have been under a police protection order due to systematic psychological violence by the abuser. I stand before you today as a survivor of violence, as a woman who has faced a lot of violence and injustice, not only from the perpetrator but also from the state”, said Elmedina Hajdari, survivor of violence.

Violence against women is the main concern of women’s rights activists in the country, alongside problems such as women’s lack of economic independence and their low participation in public life.

Adelina Tërshani from the Network of Women’s Groups of Kosovo told the Voice of America that March 8 this year finds Kosovo without improvements in matters of gender equality.

“Unfortunately, the situation is not good in all areas, starting with the insecurity that women have within their private spaces, then public ones, violence, murders that have happened unfortunately often”, said Mrs. Tërshani.

The handling of cases of violence against women by the justice system in the country continues to be disturbing, she says.

“The murders of women are premeditated murders because most of the times we have seen that the perpetrators of the murder of women have already been notified in the justice system, they are recidivists, people who have repeated this violence many, many times until it results in murder and fatality for women”, says Mrs. Tërshani.

Luljeta Demolli from the Kosovo Center for Gender Studies, told Voice of America that the high rate of violence against women is related to their lack of economic independence.

“We think that it is increased due to the unemployment of women and the unemployment of women and as a result we also come to the non-independence of women so that they have a place where they can go in a moment of divorce. This is a problem where we do not stand because it is not taken seriously by the state”, she said.

Mrs. Demolli says that the state must develop long-term policies for the employment of women.

“We need long-term employment policies, not policies that keep some women in care and at home because maternity leave is paid for women who don’t work, or some take them out of school to put them into work.” because a large number of male employees have left. Therefore, we must be very careful that every measure that comes for the employment of women has a gender perspective because we can do great damage down the road by thinking that we are employing women and removing them from education”, she says.

Organizations for the protection of women’s rights continuously draw attention to the challenges faced by women in Kosovo, such as domestic violence, lack of employment, sexual harassment and lack of education. The Kosovo Police said in an answer to the Voice of America that during the month of January of this year, 216 cases of domestic violence were registered, of which 177 were cases where women were the victims, while in the month of February, 188 cases of domestic violence were registered where 143 victims are women.

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