The day of November 25 is dedicated by the UN to violence against women. This year, it has had a significant impact. Probably because it was coming after the Harvey Weinstein affair. It is to be hoped that, one event chasing the other, the question will not be forgotten until next year.
Some figures, published on the occasion of this day, give an idea of the extent of the problem.
According to the United Nations, data from 87 countries from 2005 to 2016, 19% of women aged 15 to 49 report having experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the 12 months preceding the survey (1).
In the European Union, in 2015, 215,000 sexual crimes were reported to the police, one-third of them rapes. The victims are women in 90% of the cases and 99% of those imprisoned for these crimes are men.
In France, the police registered 16,741 complaints, nearly 50 sexual assault reports and 31 rape complaints per 100,000 inhabitants (10,729 complaints in total).
All these figures probably underestimate the importance of the phenomenon because they only count the cases reported to the police (2).
Beyond the case, we must not forget a permanent and universal phenomenon. In the UN survey, cited above, in 2012, nearly half of the world’s female homicide victims were killed by an intimate partner or family member, compared with 6% of men.
In France, two women die every week and one man every two weeks because of violence in the couple.
In 2014, La Croix reported a survey of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights on 42,000 Europeans: one in five women reported being victims of physical and / or sexual violence. For France, one in four women. And three out of four French women have been harassed against one in two in Europe. Nearly one out of two had to deal with physical, sexual or psychological violence in childhood against a third of Europeans.
Surprisingly enough in this study, the Scandinavian countries, Finland, Sweden, are rather misclassified. More than the importance of violence, this would translate into a more free speech of women, more aware (4).
Sexual harassment, rape are widespread in time, they do not date from yesterday, and in space, social classes, countries, continents.
The Harvey Weinstein affair played a special role this year, because Hollywood’s most powerful film producer thought himself untouchable and had a behavior that everyone knew was particularly hateful.
For this behavior to be denounced in the press, it took women who have a certain social surface to publicly assume their accusation.
In total, Harvey Weinstein has been publicly charged with sexual harassment, offering to promote their career for sexual favors, wanting to buy the silence of some of his victims for large sums and rapes, which many people knew, by more than 70 women, mostly actresses but also employees, journalists, producers, models who felt strong enough for that.
These behaviors are more prevalent among women in situations of weakness for whom it is difficult to protest. Sometimes, it is the victims who are condemned! In 2007, a MeToo campaign was launched to denounce sexual violence, particularly against visible minorities. Without much success (5).
This year, following articles in the two prestigious newspapers, an American actress is proposing to resume the #metoo campaign to share stories of sexual and gender-based violence in different media. Other personalities are implicated. From there, other women rose, all over the world ..
This campaign is taken over in France in the form #BalanceTonPorc so that fear changes camp. It’s a quick success. And #MeToo and also taken in 85 countries including, after the United States, the UK, India, Pakistan, Japan … But still in other languages and countries: in French in Canada, in Arabic, Tunisia, Egypt, Dubai: أنا_كمان, China: # 我 也是, Spain: # YoTambién, South Korea: # 나도, Vietnam: # TôiCũngVậy, Israel: גםאנחנו # (UsAussi), Italy: #QuellaVoltaChe (TheTimewhen)
The messages broadcast report facts from words to rape through harassment, aggression … in different professional circles (entertainment world, politics, finance, sport …), school, family, sometimes by designating known personalities. Some of whom resign from their job …
In 1965, I was very surprised to find in an amphitheater of the faculty of letters in Toulouse that the vast majority of the audience was female! I came to the conclusion that it had to be translated, one day or another, at the level of society. I did not know how
Quite simply, for fifty years, women have taken charge of struggles for their liberation, their autonomy and equal rights. That this poses problems for some people, for society … it is obvious, but liberation poses always problems. A new balance is to be found.
Now, we must hope that this event does not fall into oblivion until the next case. That it will favor, at least in certain societies, the evolution of mentalities not towards a war of the sexes but towards the invention of a new living together, more balanced.