Former president Shimon Peres..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
‘Whoever hits a woman hits our children and our society,’ said former president Shimon Peres.
“There is no justification whatsoever for violence against women, and the punishment needs to be collective,” he said, speaking at an event sponsored by the No2Violence Against Women organization at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa on Sunday.
The former president called on men to rally to the cause to prevent violence, saying repeatedly that domestic violence and abuse are a society-wide issue.
Nevertheless, Peres said he is an optimist and believes that “the end to [domestic] violence, and even peace, will come from the younger generation.”
The event marked a signing ceremony of the “Treaty for the Safety, Health and Well-Being of All Women,” which calls for an international law for the prevention of violence against women.
“This treaty has been written especially to protect women, with the goal of providing them [with] freedom, security and equality throughout their lives – both within their homes and without – so that they can enjoy equal rights as full citizens, allowing them to live as an integral part of their own society,” the treaty states.
The treaty outlines the “natural and universal rights” for women of all ages, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds and religions. Among the rights listed are the right to live, to be born free, to have sole control over one’s own body, the right to proper nutrition, shelter and medical care, to own money, and to participate in the public arena.
Peres along with Miri A., a domestic violence survivor, and Daniella Lehat, CEO of No2Violence Against Women, were the first signatories of the treaty.
Miri A. addressed the audience and recounted her experiences as an abused woman.
“I was so scared, and because of this I completely lost myself,” she said. “The signs of violence are not always evident – there are not always visible bruises,” she said. “Sometimes you can smile to the world but nobody really knows what is going on inside your home.”
The young woman and mother of two said she had been living in a No2Violence women’s shelter for the past 21 months and has credited the organization with helping her rebuild her life.
Also featured at the event was a photography exhibition titled “My Safe Place” by Lihi Lapid, author, photographer and wife of Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who was one of the initiators and authors of the treaty.
The exhibition depicted wellknown women from Israeli society photographed in their “safe place.”
Among the photographed participants are Sara Netanyahu, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel Prize laureate Adina Bar-Shalom and numerous other leading political, business, cultural and academic female figures. “The very thought that there are too many women who don’t have a safe place to sleep, sometimes for years, in their own homes makes my heart cry out every time,” said Lihi Lapid ahead of the event.