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 Full text 
Monday, 11 September 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

EU accession to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (debate)

  Terry Reintke, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, a month ago I was walking home from a night out with friends. As I was approaching Duisburg main station, a guy came up to me very suddenly from behind, without me seeing him, and grabbed me between my legs. I turned around – I was in complete shock and was outraged – and tried to run after him and scream and curse at him with only one thought in my head: that if I scared him enough, he would not do this to any other woman again in his life. After a couple of blocks, I lost him in the dark and I called the police. The police came straight away with three cars. They interrogated me and asked me if I was feeling fine, and whether I needed psychological support. They called for a search to find this guy and even took my jacket and my dress to find traces. I felt safe again. They brought me home and I felt that I was taken seriously at this time.

I know that I owe this police reaction to the debates that we had in the last month around the Istanbul Convention. That is why I now want to give my thanks to all the women in this Chamber, and also in the Member States and all over the world, who have fought for this to happen. But still, even though I had this positive experience, there are tens of thousands of women who do not get this treatment when they are harassed or face sexualised violence. They still face being ridiculed and not being taken seriously.

Without the millions of women who fought for this Convention and for other steps that were taken against violence against women, this would not have been possible. So without these pioneers and without documents like the Istanbul Convention, the fight against violence against women is still not a given. The fact that I could feel safe and that we are struggling to have every single woman in the world feeling safe needs to be our motivation to continue and to exceed the Istanbul Convention in its full scope and not to let one day pass without fighting against violence against women. So we need to take this step now. This will certainly not be the last step, but a very important and historic step on the way to a society without violence against women.


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