Women in Montenegro need more functional protection mechanisms against violence

Centre for Civic Education (CCE), on the occasion of International Women’s Day, points to the extremely worrying increase in the number of cases of violence against women and the need for urgent systematic work on protection of women and girls, prevention of violence, harsher punishment of perpetrators, but also the condemnation of the increasingly present misogyny, especially towards women in the public sphere.

CCE reminds that numerous studies, including the CCE’s research from 2021, warn that the majority of citizens, almost two-thirds (63%), believe that gender equality has not been achieved in Montenegro. In addition, over the years, research data indicate that some segments of civic consciousness are slow and difficult to change, therefore, the dominant majority (over 70%) believes that the main role of women in society is to be a good wife and mother.

According to the Police Administration, in January 2022, almost every day one woman was a victim of domestic violence, and three femicides that occurred in Montenegro in four months are an alarm for the competent institutions that they must be more engaged in the prevention of violence.

Additionally, the increasingly common hate speech and misogyny towards women in the socio-political sphere reveals the consequences of an undeveloped culture of dialogue and misunderstanding of the concept of human rights. Tolerating such behaviours, which has been emphasized over the years, is a dangerous form of legitimizing the climate of violence against women.

The latest European Commission Report for Montenegro points to the shortcomings in the implementation of gender policies, lack of awareness and commitment by the institutions, as well as insufficient coordination between the competent institutions. In addition, Montenegro’s Gender Equality Index was calculated with a score of 55 out of 100 points, which puts Montenegro well below the EU average, and is also illustrated by numerous inequalities in various spheres.

CCE highlights that the fight against violence against women should be the fight of all of us. Gender inequality rooted in cultural norms and prejudices creates invisible obstacles in the implementation of policies and laws that should enable equality and an atmosphere of intolerance of violence. Therefore, we call on competent institutions to make efforts in the implementation of gender policy and human rights, and in particular in providing a decisive response to gender-based violence and support for women victims of violence.

Maja Marinović, Programme Assistant