Skopje, 07.12.2023 – The Faculty of Social Sciences at the “Mother Teresa” University in Skopje, in cooperation with the association “Association for the Affirmation of Women”, held a panel discussion on the occasion of 16 days of activism on violence against women and girls with the theme “NOVEMBER 25 INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELEMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN”.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an annual campaign that begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and continues until International Human Rights Day on December 10. This year, the theme of the campaign is “JOIN! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls”, because every effort invested in preventing violence against women is a step forward towards a safer, more equal and more prosperous world.

The panel discussion began with a moment of silence for Liridona Ademaj and Vanja Gjorcevska, victims of the violence that shocked the whole country and the region.

The dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the president of the Association for the Affirmation of Women, Mrs. Ajgyl Sulejman, opened the panel discussion emphasizing that the discussion of issues related to violence against women and girls is essential to build an inclusive and fair society, where violence against women is unacceptable and where victims will feel truly protected. Mrs. Ajgyl Sulejman expressed concern that there is a large number of women and girls who do not report violence and that it is necessary for them to be aware of their rights, opportunities and ways to protect themselves.

What is violence and how to raise awareness about it, what are the mechanisms for preventing violence, what is the legal framework for supporting women, how do centers for victims and shelters work, where can you get psychological support, where and how to find safety… These and other questions, moderated by Dr. Arta Xhelili, lecturer at MTU, tried to answer the panelists: Mrs. Fisnike Bekteshi Shaqiri, Doctor of Legal Sciences and Mrs. Nita Beluli Luma, Doctor of Clinical Psychology.

Dr. Fisnike Bekteshi Shaqiri, deputy in the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, spoke about the phenomenological characteristics of violence against women, its forms, criminal treatment and the role and functioning of state administration bodies in the protection of victims of gender-based violence.

Dr. Nita Beluli Luma, coordinator of the Psychology study program at MTU, spoke about the trauma of survivors of violence, and the need for psychological treatment during and after the reporting process. In addition, she also analyzed the psychological profiles of the aggressors and pointed out that the process of preventing and fighting violence against women and girls should also include the treatment of the aggressors as well as raising the awareness of men and boys.

The panel concluded by appealing to the male gender to fully engage and take responsibility for achieving gender equality, stressing that violence against women and girls can only be fought and won together.