Albania: Petition in Support of Victims of Violence against Women and Women's Rights Defenders

"Refleksione" Association in TiranaAlbania seeks support for a Petition in Support of the Victims of Violence against Women and Women’s Rights Defenders in Albania.

 

Interested parties should sign the petition by February 28, 2010, by sending an email message toinfo@stopdhunes.org that says: I sign the Petition in Support of the Victims of Violence against Women and Women’s Rights Defenders in Albania.  Please, provide the following information in your message: first and last name, organization, country, and email address.

 

TO:       Directors of public and private TV and radio stations in Albania

Editors-in-Chief of daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Albania

The Albanian National Commission on Radio and Television

 

Dear Madams/Sirs:

 

We would like to bring to your attention recent regrettable cases of incorrect and unfair media reporting on cases of violence against women and the work of the organizations that provide support and shelter to the victims of this violence in Albania. The most recent case was a report by the program “Fiks Fare” in Top Channel related to the case of a woman victim of extreme domestic violence that has included severe and repeated physical violence.  Inexplicably, “Fiks Fare” sided with the perpetrator, who exploits the victim’s children to stop his wife from divorcing him after years of severe domestic violence. This perpetrator, other than repeatedly abusing his wife, has over the last four years threatened and intimidated several women’s rights defenders who provided assistance to her.  

 

Unfortunately, “Fiks Fare” report made public the location of shelter where the victim was located, thus endangering the safety of the victims who are sheltered there and of the staff that serves them. As a result, the shelter was obliged to transfer the women victim in this case, against her will, to another shelter, as they could no longer ensure her safety. Moreover, three of the first shelter’s staff, including its legal advisor, who was also serving as a defense lawyer in the divorce case of the women victim in this case, resigned acknowledging that they were threatened by the perpetrator of this domestic violence case.   

 

We recognize the unique role and contribution that the Albanian media plays in raising awareness about violence against women and we understand that women’s rights groups in Albania have successfully partnered with a wide variety of media outlets in efforts to prevent and combat violence against women in the country.

 

But, situations like the one described above, even just one of them, are extremely harmful to victims of violence against women and their defenders in Albania. They re-traumatize the victims; endanger their lives and that of their defenders; they destroy in just one moment the years-long and patient efforts of organizations that support and shelter the victims, whose work’s effectiveness is tightly linked to confidentiality; and they discourage other victims of violence against women, who suffer in silence, to seek help and assistance from these organizations.

 

We this in mind, we encourage you to:

-          Put an end to misgudied, inaccurate, and insensitive cases of reporting on victims of violence against women and the work of the human rights organizations that support and shelter them.

 

-          Convey seriousness, empathy, and support while reporting on issues related to violence against women and the work of the organizations that strive to prevent and combat this violence, so that you can continue to contribute to a culture of respect for women’s rights and zero tolerance vis-a-vis violence against women in Albania.

 

-          Continue to rely on the expertise and support of women’s rights groups in Albania to ensure accurate, sensitive, and approrpiate coverage of cases of violence against women, as well as of the work of organizations that support and shelter the victims of this violence.

 

We are confident that you will continue to be part of the efforts to prevent and combat violence against women in Albania and we thank you for your support.