Ten years after it was signed, the European Evangelical Alliance urges countries “to take seriously the harm done to women and girls” in practices such as sexual exploitation, domestic abuse or equality.
This May marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the so-called Istanbul Convention, a treaty of the Council of Europe on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
The European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) has released a statement on the document, in which it clearly stated that “murder, rape, sexual harassment, forced marriage, forced abortion or sterilisation, coercive control, so-called honour killings, degrading sexual and violent media content” are “undeniably wrong and can never be justified”.
The EEA asks its members “to redouble our efforts to fight these evils”, especially now that “the Covid-19 pandemic has provoked a surge in domestic violence and sexual exploitation of women and girls online”.
It also calls on society “to take seriously the harm done to women and girls and the root causes of this harm”, wondering “what commitments are there in terms of legal remedies, finance, police training”, and if Europe does everything “to ensure survivors are given long term support, and perpetrators are properly punished or restrained”.
After arguing that “in several ways, the Istanbul Convention does not go far enough”, the statement goes on to analyse some of the topics of the document, such as sexual exploitation, pornography, domestic abuse, sexual harassment and equal dignity.
At the same time, the EEA recognises that the document has been controversial throughout Europe, because of how it addresses some of the issues.
The EEA concludes calling upon Europe’s Evangelicals “to continue to pray, spot, speak up and intervene appropriately on these and other issues related to the well-being of women and girls”.
According to its website, the European Evangelical Alliance has several resources to combat sexual exploitation, including pornography, like the European Freedom Network, as well as to respond to domestic abuse: the Christian Network to End Domestic Abuse (CNEDA), and to provide appropriate safeguarding to stop sexual harassment and other abuse: the Christian Safeguarding Services.