Disturbing the tranquil atmosphere of the Christmas markets, dozens of people gathered on Bratislava’s Main Square on November 25 to protest against domestic violence against women by loudly blowing whistles.
The event was attended by Norwegian Ambassador to Slovakia Inga Magistad, along with representatives of the Slovak Government Office, the Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Ministry, and a number of non-governmental organisations.
By staging a non-violent but loud protest, the organisers of the march wanted to draw the attention of the wider public to the fact that the issue of domestic violence is still pressing and needs attention.
Adriana Mesochoritisová, representative of one of the protesting NGOs - Možnosť voľby (Pro Choice, or Freedom of Choice) told the TASR newswire that women from all social strata and of various educational backgrounds have suffered assaults. “The same applies to the perpetrators; it's difficult to talk about specific profiles here,” said the activist.
A very optimistic element is that the victims of violence have ever more options to access the required assistance, according to the protesters. In addition, next year should see a new nationwide helpline set up, which will be run round the clock and free of charge.
“We’ve spent approximately four months training female consultants for this helpline,” said sociologist Barbora Holubová of the Labour and Family Research Institute. “We believe that it will be a long-term and quality service.”
The Government Office’s Project Manager Jana Dacková said some 400 family centres for the victims of domestic violence are required in Slovakia at the moment. Thanks to financial assistance from Norwegian funds, the Government Office is planning to endorse the creation of several shelters for women along with new advisory centres, as well as to support existing ones, as these have been long underfinanced.
The protest, called “Let’s Whistle at Violence against Women”, was organised on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
27. Nov 2014 at 14:00