Ploumen: Everyone deserves a violence-free Valentine’s Day

‘Everyone deserves a violence-free Valentine’s Day’, said Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. ‘But even today, thousands of women will become the victims of rape, many of them in developing countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where rape is used as a weapon of war. We need to keep on drawing attention to their plight. It’s the least we can do,’ she said on Thursday, a day which sees people around the globe protesting against sexual violence as part of the One Billion Rising campaign.

The Minister is supporting the campaign and lobbying hard at international level in the struggle against violence and rape. Ms Ploumen: ‘That’s what I promised the women I met in a displacement camp in eastern Congo last week.’

Through its development cooperation, the Netherlands is working to combat sexual violence and provide help to victims. As part of these efforts, it is exploring local requirements, such as installing street lights, training lawyers to help women report violence, exerting political pressure to resolve conflicts and providing refuge and therapy to victims.
It is difficult to gauge how many women are victims of sexual violence. In the vast majority of cases the victims do not report the incident. As part of the One Billion Rising campaign, a wide range of activities is being organised worldwide. In the Netherlands, events are being held today at at least nine locations.