“Violence against women has no place in our city”

25 November 2021

Today, Kathrin Gaál, Deputy Mayor and City Councillor for Women in Vienna, launched a new campaign highlighting violence against women and announced the building of a new women’s shelter in the Austrian capital.

As a strong sign, the flag against violence against women and the white ribbon flag were hoisted at Vienna City Hall to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The white ribbon campaign calls on men to stand up against gender-based violence. The international day, each 25 November, also marks the launch of the “16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence” campaign.

“Especially now, in this challenging time, it is particularly important that women get support quickly in emergency situations,” comments Gaál. “Every woman who needs protection from domestic male violence has a safety net in our city. The 24-hour Women’s Emergency Hotline and the Women’s Shelter Emergency Hotline help quickly and unbureaucratically – around the clock.”

“Violence against women has no place in our city and is never to be tolerated.,” Gaál added. The new awareness campaign encourages everyone to step up against violence against women.

A large civil courage installation was also unveiled on Wednesday in the arcade courtyard of Vienna City Hall. Passers by can now hear stories from Viennese women and men who have witnessed insults, harassment or violence against women.

The City of Vienna also shared plans to build a fifth women’s shelter with 50 additional places by 2022. In addition, an existing women’s shelter will be converted into a new shelter for girls and young women. In 2022 alone, a total of about €11 million euros from the Vienna budget will flow into violence protection and prevention as well as for the expansion of child and youth work.

The 16 Days against Violence cover the period between 25 November – the international day of remembrance for all women and girls who have been victims of violence – to 10 December – International Human Rights Day.

This campaign period is used worldwide to address the extent and various forms of violence against women and to raise awareness of the fact that violence against women and girls as a fundamental violation of human rights has lasting consequences for the victims themselves, but also for society as a whole.

The day of remembrance goes back to the murder of the three Mirabal sisters, who were killed on 25 November 1960 in the Dominican Republic by the military secret service after months of torture. They were active in the underground and had taken part in activities against the tyrannical dictator Trujillo. At a meeting of Latin American and Caribbean feminists in Bogota, Colombia in 1981, participants paid tribute to these women and proclaimed their date of death as a day of remembrance for victims of violence against women and girls.

Since 1999, 25 November has also been recognised by the United Nations as an official international day of remembrance. The “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence” campaign began earlier, in 1991.

Since 2001, the non-profit human rights organisation for women and girls Terre des Femmes, from Germany, has been organising the flag campaign “Live free without violence” as part of the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence”. Flags are hoisted on public buildings as a sign against violence against women.


Michaela Kauer Director, Brussels Liaison Office for Vienna