The “Feminist Net” runs through the Internet as a net and it has its roots in the “Network for combating male violence against women”. It assembles Greek and foreign feminist organizations, groups, nets, autonomous feminists, human rights organizations, human welfare organizations and individuals interested in women issues.
Its creatress is Roula Scoutari.
Since 2001 until 2006 it basically run as a net of intercommunication. It received information, which was related to women and the feminist movement. Also, it collected information about major international issues, for example, war, ecological issues etc. It forwarded this information to the organizations, groups and individuals that were in its mailing lists.
The “Feminist Net” forms and forwards campaigns, petitions and appeals of solidarity which aim at the protection of the rights of the women or the forwarding of major human welfare issues. In this way, feelings of solidarity, compassion and mutual aid are promoted.
The basic goal of the “Feminist Net”, as is the case with the feminist movement, is the women liberation. Other goals are the abolition of the patriarchy, the overthrow of the social structures that perpetuate the enslaving of the female sex.
The “Feminist Net” is interested in the abolition of the sexism and the discriminations against women in all fields of life (family, work, political and social involvement etc.). It also aims at the abolition of stereotypes and prejudices against females.
Some very basic factors that contribute to this fight are the equality of privileges, opportunities, and the legal securing of women rights. All of the above form the basic prerequisites for the equality between the two sexes and create a solid ground to protect ourselves from any discrimination and violation of our rights.
However, these are not enough in themselves. An another basic prerequisite for the abolition of the sexism is the changing of people’s mentality. This can be achieved through Education and the altering of the people’s life attitude via socialization.
It should be stressed that in our times, when globalization has taken over our lives, a major problem that women face is poverty and the shrinking of the Social Welfare. According to statistics, 70% of the poor are women while the work and social rights are gradually put into question. Today, more than ever before, the protection and the securing of these rights are necessary. Furthermore, it’s necessary to take measures to redistribute wealth among the rich and the poor, men and women.
There is also an obvious discrimination against homosexual women. All over the world the taboos about homosexuality are very common and the problem of the homophobia of the societies renders these women’s position more and more difficult. For instance, an open statement of sexual orientation could result in the dismissal from some work places, the rejection from the family and the sexist harassment.
Concerning the issues of violence against women, the “Feminist Net” supports that violence is the greatest problem which women face. This is also one of the greatest problems of humanity. It’s the outcome of power relationships between the two sexes and it perpetuates the subjection of the female.
It is estimated that 60,000,000 women lose their lives annually because of the violence exerted on them and many more get ill and suffer (physically or mentally) or get crippled.
Violence against women assumes various forms and we can find it in all societies and all countries. Physical abuse and domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse, trafficking of women, prostitution and pornography, genital mutilation, murdering of female infants, crimes of honor, forced marriages, sexual harassment in the work place, various kinds of torture, sexist assaults during their detention in police stations or during their imprisonment.
Junior girls, teenagers and disabled women are especially vulnerable. According to statistics, most of the victims of rapes and sexual abuse are underage girls while teenagers and young women are the main victims of the sex industry, of trafficking and forced marriages.
Even the exertion of physical violence on girls has a disastrous impact. They become victims and as a result they enter violent relationships during adulthood.
The girls and the women are especially vulnerable in countries where genital mutilation takes place. It is estimated that 2,000,000 girls are subjected to genital mutilation annually which has disastrous consequences to their health and sexuality.
The phenomenon of murdering the female infants is very obvious in certain countries. So, their female population is clearly limited which has as a result the trafficking of women and the forced marriages.
Especially vulnerable to sexual violence are primarily women
with disabilities. According to research, disabled women are subjected to sexual
abuse up to a 50% more than the rest of the population.
Women live under horrible conditions in countries with extremely strict codes of honor concerning their life and behavior. These women are deprived of every right and freedom and often they are punished cruelly in case certain rules are violated. Stoning to death, whipping, crimes of honor are extreme forms of misogynism exerted by legal authorities or angry male crowds.
Terrible is the position of the women who are forced to become immigrants or refugees. Also, the women who live in warring countries or countries who undergo nation cleansing. Many female immigrants become victims of prostitution networks and suffer under violent behavior and terrible humiliation. Women in warring countries, women of national and race minorities become victims of sexual violence mainly because rape is exercised as war weapon and nation cleansing.
Another category of women particularly vulnerable to violence is homosexual women who suffer various violent impacts because of their sexual orientation.
It should be stressed that all these forms of violence against women are trespassing of their elementary human rights.
The protection from the law, the securing of women rights and the punishments of the guilty are rendered necessary. The problem of violence is simply reproduced and perpetuated through the absence of punishment.
Furthermore, it’s necessary for the State Social Welfare to take measures for the protection of women through the following: the construction of specialized centers, stations and shelters, the supplying of medical care and psychological support of women and children of both sexes.
The family is the cell of the society. Everything, including violence, spread through it into the society. People who have suffered violence or have faced violent behavior – especially within their families – become themselves vehicles of violence, carrying it in the society, in their relationships and the families, which they create. It is therefore necessary for power relations between the two sexes to be overthrown within the family in the first place. It is also important to change the stereotypical roles and to take measures against domestic violence.
Above all stands the prevention of violence, either through Education and the abolition of sexism through the securing of women’s rights and of the upgrading of their position in society, or through self-protection, self-defense and the strengthening of women through the creation of self-defense groups.
There should be pressure exercised on all nations and governments to sign and validate the CEDAW, as well as all the declarations and the contracts that secure and protect human rights. Furthermore, any form of violence against women should be considered in itself good reason for the provision of asylum.
As for the sexual and reproductive rights of the women, it should be stressed that it has been the major concern of patriarchy to control and oppress the women sexuality and female body.
The female body and the women had to be under the continuous control and domination of men, so as to protect the female purity and so that women give birth to the original descendants of their husbands whom women had not chosen themselves in the first place.
For this reason, even in our times, we notice phenomena of complete oppression, limiting and trespassing of women’s basic rights especially in countries with particularly strict codes of honor.
Also, the genital mutilation of women is directly related to the oppression of female sexuality and results in its abuse.
But even in countries, which are not characterized by so strict codes and violent actions, the sexual freedom of women and the availability of their bodies the way they wish, is not fully accepted.
Patriarchy has always put women under two categories; the honorable women, who are fully devoted to their husbands, and the prostitutes, who are also women with a loose sexual life.
In many countries morals have already changed and the sexual freedom of the women isn’t provocative for the society. There are countries where women enjoy the freedom of giving birth and bringing their children up on their own.
However, these instances are limited compared to the world data. Even nowadays, for example, contraception is unknown in many countries or it is not spread sufficiently, abortions are penalized and the law punishes women for their practice. In this way, nations and various conservative circles try to control the bodies and women’s lives.
Every woman should have the responsibility and freedom to select if, when and how many children she will give birth to. Only then does maternity preserve its value, when it is the result of free choice and availability of the individuals.
The oppression of the women’s sexuality has its consequences on the homosexual women, too. The female homosexuality is still considered to be dangerous in many societies, because it questions the morals of the patriarchic family and the male role in the sex life. In other societies it is simply repelled and rejected. Almost in all societies the female homosexuality is considered to be provocative and causes various reactions.
These days patriarchy is put under test and is questioned by the women and some men also. It is going through a severe crisis. The yearlong fights by women and the feminist movement have started to have an impact. Women have gradually overthrown the male suppression. They enjoy the rights they have conquered and fight for an improvement, live and enjoy their liberties, fight for their complete and utter emancipation.
In our days new data is being formed. The women and the feminist movement would have to be alert at all times to face the challenges of our times. The solidarity between us is necessary for the securing of the rights and the liberties of the women all over the world. Even if just one woman on earth suffers under pressure, the position of all women becomes unsafe.
In all cases, the thing we wish for is a different culture, the formation of another civilization, a society of equality between the two sexes and all the people, a just and peaceful world free from the domination and exploitation of certain social groups or countries.
MANY THANKS TO ELENA KOSTOPOYLOY FOR HER CONTRIBUTION TO THE TRANSLATION OF THE TEXT IN ENGLISH