KWN Calls on Media to Be Careful on Narratives Created About Violence Against Women

In light of daily news on domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual assaults, and rapes, the Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) was informed through the media about a case of domestic violence where Professor Shemsedin Vehapi is suspected of committing violence against his wife.

KWN is very concerned about how the media conveys to the public that a “pie” was the cause of domestic violence. In a statement given to the police, the survivor of the violence says that she was threatened, and Professor Vehapi even tried to attack her with a revolver. Media reports where the emphasis is on the “pie” and not on the threats and systematic violence exercised by the professor are problematic.

Additionally, these reports encourage a patriarchal mindset, which implies that women have an obligation to cook and their place is in the kitchen. This also discourages other victims from reporting violence. Furthermore, working in this field and with victims of domestic violence, KWN sees that women are victims of systematic violence

KWN’s work shows that when a woman reports domestic violence, she has often endured the violence for about ten years, and they continue to live in dangerous environments in Kosovo. Adequate rehabilitative measures for abusers still do not exist, and victims of gender-based violence continue to be left without a way out of repeated violence.

At the same time, women’s employment and property inheritance remain among the lowest in the Balkans, which keeps women trapped in a cycle of abuse. Assessments made by police officers on whether the perpetrator poses a danger to the victim are weak and result in cases of recidivism. Punishments and sentences from courts are consistently low and unjust, with extra trials for those who have committed brutal crimes against women.

This chain of events shows us that violence against women is a consequence of institutional, social, and collective failure in dealing with gender-based violence within the rule of law and access to justice. KWN invites all media to professionally approach the reporting of domestic violence, with a gender-sensitive approach and a focus on the victim and her well-being. Furthermore, it is vital not to reinforce the patriarchal mindset in reports, such as utilizing “drinking” as an excuse for committing gender-based violence. KWN also urges all institutions to treat cases seriously, and the perpetrators should receive the deserved punishment.”

KWN, as a network of 139 different organizations for women’s rights throughout Kosovo, will monitor the institutional response to this case and all cases of gender-based violence.

KWN remains open to cooperation and providing assistance to victims of gender-based violence through free legal counseling and referrals to relevant institutions. If you need free legal assistance in cases of gender-based violence, or if you know someone who needs it, please contact us at the following number: 048 105 800.