Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Orange the World: Visible and invisible violence against women

On 25 November, the global 16-day campaign 'Orange the World' against violence against women and girls started. Leiden University will also be paying attention to this campaign. On Friday 9 December, Renate van der Zee and Marieke Liem will give a lecture at the Campus The Hague (Spanish Steps, Wijnhaven) on visible and invisible violence against women.

In relation to the event, we asked Marieke Liem, Professor Social Resilience and Security at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs four questions:

1. Why is the worldwide campaign ‘Orange the World’ so important? Why is it necessary to pay attention to violence against women by organizing such a campaign?

Each year, almost 90,000 women worldwide are murdered. More than half of them is killed by their partner, ex-partner, or a family member. This boils down to 137 women each day, who are killed by someone close to them. The campaign ‘Orange the World’ is important to help generate attention for this big issue. You could think of the murders of these women as the measurable tip of the iceberg when it comes to violence against women. We can see the top, but we are often unable to see the underlying violence, and it is rarely reported to the police. Think not only of physical violence, but also of sexual violence, exploitation, and repression.

2. What is your motivation for conducting research into violence/violence against women?

I believe it is very important to create a clear picture of the heterogeneity of violence against women. In the public debate, domestic violence by a violent male partner is most often discussed. And this does happen but makes up only a third of the total of murdered women. In almost half of these cases women are killed by non-family members, for instance under the pretext of witchcraft, or in connection with human trafficking or sexual exploitation. I believe it is important to show the diversity in the instances of victimhood. When we only focus on one type of victimhood, we run the risk of creating interventions that only tackle one part of the problem.  

On Friday 9 December, you will be giving a lecture on violence against women together with Renate van der Zee. Van der Zee will predominantly discuss violence experienced by women who work as sex workers. Why has she decided to focus on this group in particular?

In the Netherlands there is this prevailing myth that sex workers are independent women who wholeheartedly chose to voluntarily perform this work as freelancers. Behind this lurks a big world of repression, manipulation, and compulsion, that often remains invisible for the outside world. Most women working as sex workers has a history of sexual violence in their younger years. As a journalist, Renate van der Zee has conducted research into this group for years She has spoken to numerous women. In this lecture, she will demonstrate why this myth needs to be busted.

4. What can we expect from the lecture?

We would like to address the nature and the extent of violence against women, and the many faces this violence can have – not only in the Netherlands but also in other countries. We want to create awareness for this serious problem. I, myself, will also do so by providing an overview of the most visible form, namely the murdering of women worldwide. Renate van der Zee will address the hidden forms: exploitation, manipulation, and coercion of a very fragile group: sex workers. Violence against women is a serious problem. That does not mean that there is nothing we can do about it, on the contrary. This day is a perfect occasion to address the issue.

You can find more information about the lecture here.

About the speakers

Renate van der Zee is a journalist and writes books and reports on topics such as women's rights, honour violence, sexual violence, human trafficking, and prostitution. 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 (Honour 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.

This website uses cookies.  More information.