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Fondation européenne Madariaga Singer Axelle Red highlights role of men in fighting domestic violence
Brussels, 4 March 2008

“The majority of perpetrators of domestic violence are men, and since it is largely men who still hold positions of power in society, they have an important role to play in combating this crime,” said Belgian singer Axelle Red, introducing a Brussels lunch-debate yesterday on the role of men in fighting domestic violence.

Speaking at the event, organised by Madariaga European Foundation on the eve of International Women’s Day, the singer also denounced the sexist culture of some male rap artists who glorify violence against women. They provided a shameful role model for young men on how to treat women, she said. A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador involved in promoting women’s rights, Axelle Red is currently working on an album, her first entirely in English, with the working title of “empathy” – the quality she said was lacking most in situations which lead to violence.

Echoing her remarks, PACE member Kent Olsson (Sweden, EPP/CD) pointed out that “men can sometimes change other mens’ minds better than women can”. He described the work of a 40-strong network of male MPs in the Swedish Parliament who have come together to combat domestic violence – believed to be the first such group.

PACE member Nursuna Memecan (Turkey, ALDE) also spoke of a major initiative in Turkey to train male police officers, soldiers, health professionals and religious leaders in combating violence against women. Up to 40,000 policemen will receive the training eventually, which focuses on how to treat victims as well as clarifying the law.

The meeting was also addressed by MEP Raul Romeva I Rueda of the Committee on Women’s Rights in the European Parliament.

The Council of Europe is approaching the end of a two-year campaign to combat domestic violence against women.