Viviane Lima, pictured, has headed the new sexual violence hub at Cesas since July 2020
Rising sexual violence in Luxembourg has prompted the country’s sex education promotion body to create a dedicated network for actors in the field.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Cesas introduced its fifth team member, Viviane Lima, who headed up the new sexual violence hub in July, after pursuing a career working on the subject of sexual violence, among others, for a Luxembourg not for profit.
“We will meet our partners one by one to see how we can work together. For us it’s extremely important to value this network and the work they are doing. We’re not going to reinvent,” she told Delano after the conference.
While the various partner organisations have yet to publish sexual violence figures for Luxembourg, there has been a notable domestic violence trend across Europe where reported domestic violence cases rose around 30% this year.
“Keep in mind that these are people who could ask for help. There are victims who couldn’t ask for help and we can’t quantify them,” Lima said.
The lockdown and subsequent measures introduced to curb the spread of covid-19 have isolated many victims with their perpetrators.
Lima said that associations try to put in place a simple contact system, but most rely on using the phone.
“It’s not possible in this context because there’s this great fear that the perpetrator will find out and it will aggravate the situation. There’s also the fact that freedom of movement has been severely reduced. Perhaps going outside, finding help, that wasn’t possible either during this time,” Lima said.
Shelters, which have had to reduce capacity to comply with covid-19 measures, are also struggling to keep up with demand. “What we hear from the field is that they need more structures, more capacities to welcome victims.”
The work of the new hub does not stop at domestic violence. It also encompasses things like female genital mutilation and the rise in the exchange paedopornographic material, of which reported incidents reached 70 in July this year, compared to 40 in previous years.
In addition to close collaboration and communication with government actors, Cesas places an emphasis on preventative education from a young age and training to break the cycle of sexual violence.
Lima said: “For me the basis of everything is to rethink the education we give our kids. We must teach them about equality between men and women, about gender equality. Gender equality education is the basis for fighting violence.”