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Portugal, Women

Let’s bang our fist on the table

IN THE RADICAL PRESS / AVANTE

The Government has launched a campaign against domestic violence under the slogan ‘Defend yourself, bang a fist on the table.’

The campaign is sensitive and well made, broadcast on television, the radio and appearing on Facebook. The central message is that victims of violence should ‘bang a fist on the table’ to end the situation they – and their children – are living through.

Domestic violence is a serious problem for many families, endangering the lives of thousands of women and children. 2012 is not over yet and already 35 women were killed by partners or ex-partners. The effects on children’s development are difficult to quantify, but we all know that they are devastating.

But the campaign is no more than that: awareness. Because otherwise, in the concrete day-to-day, the government not only does not take steps to end domestic violence, it promotes all the social and economic conditions for the problem to multiply.

There are many dimensions to the violence affecting women, children and families in general.

Unemployment, insecurity, poverty, low wages, cuts in social protection, wages, public services, weaken first of all those who are the most fragile. The worsening situation that the country is experiencing promotes a proliferation of phenomena such as alcoholism, drug abuse, child abandonment, mental illness.

‘Bang a fist on the table’ is a good advertising slogan to make the government look like it is doing something. But actually, what position are you to ‘bang a first on the table’ if you are unemployed? If you earn the minimum wage? If you have dependent children? If you do not have the slightest chance to pay rent or keep up loan repayments to the bank? If you are not, in a word, an autonomous and independent person?

The Government can run a thousand advertising campaigns and give a thousand pious speeches, but its policies are violent, they promote violence, they do not allow victims to break free of the cycle of violence. We need to bang our fist on the table, yes. To end these right-wing policies.

Margarida Botelho is an MP for the Portuguese Communist Party

Avante 6.12.2012

See also: Austerity is lethal for women

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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