European Union and the UN jointly launched a global action plan, the Spotlight Initiative for elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls for 2030 in 2017.
Pratibha Mehta, acting UN Coordinator in Tajikistan thinks that it is no longer possible to look away from this problem: “We will direct the spotlight on the problem of violence against women and girls and eliminate it.”
In her review report, she considered the problem of violence in Tajikistan and provides statistics. Each third woman is sexually, physically or psychologically abused during her lifetime. The statistics are incomplete in Tajikistan. However, 24% of women aged 19-49 in Tajikistan are subject to physical or sexual abuse, and 97% of those who had committed violence against women who had ever been married were current or former spouses.
Domestic violence has always been considered a private affair of the family, in which no one should interfere or even talk about it. For generations, gender stereotypes have made us consider domestic violence as norm and put the blame on women and who responsible for physical or emotional abuse of women shouldn’t bear responsibility for these acts, which are in fact are crimes.
Women and girls continue to face serious barriers to access to reproductive health, rights, education, economic opportunities, and improvement of their position and are not sufficiently involved in decision-making processes. Despite the fact that a significant proportion of married women across Tajikistan experience domestic violence, only 2% of them report incidents of violence and seek protection. The Spotlight initiative is designed to facilitate urgent measures. This initiative is one of the largest investments in the world to mobilize political will and action to reform laws and policies, strengthen government and non-governmental institutions, take preventive measures, provide basic services to victims, improve the status of women, promote civic action and engagement.
The goal of Spotlight Initiative in Tajikistan is quite ambitious: it is to transform opinions, gender stereotypes, patriarchal norms and behavior, which are the biggest problems in eliminating discrimination and violence against women and girls. Tajikistan has already started implementing the 3-year Global spotlight initiative for the period 2020-2023. It aims at elimination of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls. The final version was approved by government during a multilateral meeting and was approved by the Spotlight Secretariat in December 2019.
The initiative will support the implementation of government reforms, ensuring participation in solving the problem of state and public organizations, providing quality services for victims of violence, supporting public organizations in their efforts to solve problems related to violence against women and girls.