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Lecture on 'Visible and invisible violence against women' by Marieke Liem and Renate van der Zee

On Friday 9 December, Renate van der Zee and professor Marieke Liem held a lecture on 'Visible and invisible violence against women' at the Campus The Hague.

Student creating an outline of her hand to join of the #orangetheworld campaign as an ally

The lecture

During this lecture, Renate van de Zee and Marieke Liem discussed the many faces of violence against women. Liem presented an overview of the most visible forms of violence, namely the homocide of women worldwide. 87,000 women are killed worldwide each year. The majority, approximately 50,000 women, are killed by their (ex)partner or a family member. Van der Zee addressed the hidden forms of violence against women: exploitation, manipulation and coercion among a very vulnerable group: sex workers. 

Questions from the audience focussed on the changes in how sex work is organised. According to Van der Zee, national legislation needs to be changed in order to make sure brothel owners do not have the opportunity to take advantage of or act violently against women, as this is mostly the case now. 

Students and staff members were invited create an outline of their hand as a pledge to join the campaing and become an ally. By doing so they pledged to: not use violence against women and girls, taken women and girls seriously when they report violence, help them receive the right support, make sure to let women and girls feel as safe as possible, contribute to overcoming the taboo around talking about violence against women, and confront people in their environment about abusive behavior.

The speakers

Renate van der Zee is a journalist and writes books and reports on topics such as women's rights, honor violence, sexual violence, human trafficking and prostitution. She has done research into women working as sex workers. By speaking with numerous women, she has managed to expose some common myths about sex workers. She also writes major interviews, guest columns, blogs and reports on many other topics, for instance in the field of art and culture, and for Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. She became known for her book Eerwraak in Nederland (Honor killings in the Netherlands, 2010).

Marieke Liem is Professor Safety and Interventions at Leiden University, where she and her team coordinate the Dutch Homicide Monitor. Her research interests relate to interpersonal violence, with specific research projects on family homicide (including partner homicide, child homicide and family homicide), the relationship between violence and mental illness, homicide followed by suicide, the effects of long-term incarceration on violent offenders, and international comparative research on lethal violence. In her research, Liem also includes international comparative research on the murder of women. She has been able to demonstrate that the stereotypical image 'husband beats his wife to death out of jealousy' is not always true.

Orange the World

One way of creating awareness about sexual violence and consent is the annual Orange The World Campaign which refers to the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence movement initiated in 1991. Between 25 November and 10 December (International Human’s Right Day), events and actions are organised in more than 90 countries to create awaress about and combat violence against women. Leiden University also takes took part in the campaign. For instance, in Leiden and The Hague, the flags of the campaign were raised at university buildings and the Spanish Steps in Wijnhaven were enlighted in orange.

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