Project to debunk domestic violence myths heads to Malta in new campaign

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An informative video debunking common misconceptions about intimate partner violence and domestic violence has made its way to Malta.

FEM-United, the group behind the video, is an EU funded project and the University of Malta, through the Department of Gender and Sexualities, together with the Women’s Rights Foundation, have launched a campaign to raise awareness of femicide prevention sharpen in the context of the mentioned project.

“Home is the most dangerous place for many women,” the video began powerfully.

This clip in particular is intended to show that femicide is not a spontaneous “crime of passion” but the culmination of violent and regular abuse.

“Too often the media portrays these murders as incidents fueled by passion or love. They excuse the perpetrator and blame the victim, focusing on their background and behavior,” said a representative from the University of Malta’s Department of Gender and Sexuality.

“These murders are femicides. Femicides are crimes. They are not the result of passion or love.”

The video also provides some information about murders of women around the world. It mentions the staggering fact that every day 82 women around the world are killed by an intimate partner.

“These murders are not random or spontaneous acts. They are often the result of a history of violence and abusive behavior toward the victim,” the video explained.

Abusers use physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, technological, and financial means to exert power and control over a victim.

This can be done through a variety of manipulative tactics such as isolation from friends and family, humiliation, controlling income and expenses, and jealousy and possessiveness—to name a few.

Myths and misconceptions that place blame on the perpetrator and indirectly on the victim obscure the basis of violence against women and femicide, they said.

Of course, when such fundamentals are misinterpreted, it becomes much more difficult to design and implement preventative measures—for how can you tackle a problem if its roots, manifestations, and patterns are ignored?

FEM-United is an EU funded project and the University of Malta, through the Department of Gender and Sexualities, together with the Women’s Rights Foundation, have launched a campaign to raise awareness of femicide prevention through this project.

More generally, the research project seeks to increase the capacity of social workers, victim support services, police, prosecutors, NGOs and the general public to prevent violence and ultimately femicide.

The stakeholders discussed ways to design the prevention campaign in an inclusive, multi-faceted way, always keeping intersectionality in mind.

Strategies include prevention methods such as capacity building (training) and policy making to combat violence against women, as well as online campaigns targeting gender stereotypes and existing inequalities.

The international partners of the project include the Cyprus University of Technology, the Institute for Empirical Sociological Research of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Bavaria, Germany), the University of Zaragoza (Spain) and the University of Porto (Portugal). The team also consists of advocacy NGOs and women’s specialized services, including UMAR – União de Mulheres Alternativa e Resposta (Portugal) and MIGS – The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies.

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