[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Dubravka Šimonović [official profile] on Wednesday applauded [press release] efforts by Georgia [BBC profile] to reform its laws on gender equality and violence against women but cautioned that significant social changes will need to occur to make the laws effective. Šimonović specifically noted that the mentality surrounding domestic violence and early marriages still creates a block for many violence survivors to find justice and protection from their assaults. She continued by stating, "[d]omestic violence is considered a private matter and not a public concern, especially in rural areas. Women victims of domestic violence, who decide not to keep this scourge taboo, are forced by the community—in particular in rural areas—and/or the police, to remain with their perpetrators and are not only revictimized, but at risk of new assaults."
Violence against women has long been an issue worldwide. Last April the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women [official website] urged Tanzania [press release] to enforce its international obligations to prevent discrimination against women. The preceding month the UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practice [official website] warned [press release] that the progress made in achieving women's rights remains under continuous threat. They stressed that, "no country in the world has achieved full substantive equality of women." The Working Group, comprised of five rights experts, expressed concern that women still do not have the rights they deserve in much of the world, indicating that political participation of women remains low, that women still do not receive equal pay rates in much of the world and that women are vastly underrepresented in the leadership of decision-making bodies. That February the UN reported attacks [JURIST report] on young girls for seeking an education in at least 70 countries. In February 2013 the UN's top women's rights advocate denounced [JURIST report] violence against women in Egypt after 25 girls were sexually assaulted during a protest in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. In December 2012 police in New Delhi charged [JURIST report] six men with the murder of a woman who died from injuries sustained in a gang-rape. Also in December 2012 the UN released [JURIST report] a report detailing that women in Afghanistan were suffering from violence as well.