Leading MEPs have joined Nicole Kidman and the UN in the "Say NO to violence against women" campaign. Some 5 million people worldwide have already added their names to the campaign. Violence is estimated to affect 1 in 3 women at some point in their lives and in an internet campaign Ms Kidman called this "an appalling human rights violation" but one "that is not inevitable".
Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson has tabled a European Parliament written declaration calling for support for the campaign. So far 249 MEPs have signed up.
Call for year against violence against women
Violence against women is one of the most common forms of all violence, with more casualties than are produced in wars, terrorist attacks or natural disasters. The written declaration calls for a "European Year on Zero Tolerance of Violence against Women".
Ms Svensson said: "Women are exposed to abuse all over the world, but not much is done about it because of the silent acceptance often surrounding it."
Rape in DR Congo of particular concern
She referred specifically to the conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo, where "girls and women are systematically raped and maimed by militias." She said "these crimes must stop, the culprits must be brought to justice and the surviving victims must get help."
Ms Svensson - who sits in the leftist GUE/NGL group in Parliament - said the campaign with Nicole Kidman and the UN Development Fund for Women would help "break the silence" over the issue.
MEPs have until 12 March to sign. A Parliamentary written declaration comes into effect if a majority of MEPs sign it. If a majority of MEPs sign this declaration, it will be sent to the President who will announce it in plenary and forward it to the Commission and Council.