2007, Number 1
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ABSTRACTOn December 1999, the UN General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Thus, governments, international and non-governmental organizations were invited to develop activities to raise public awareness about the problem on that day. Since 1981 activist women marked November 25 as the day against violence. This paper pretends to make some reflections about violence against women, considering that this is a political, social, cultural, legal and human rights-related issue, but also a severe public health problem. Mental health researchers and professionals should be aware of the relevance of this phenomenon and its multiple manifestations, including sexual abuse, incest, forced prostitution, and sexual harassment in streets, institutions and domestic contexts as well as violence in intimate relations, rape and femicides. Men are the main perpetrators of these acts against women and girls. For this reason, the problem should be understood from a gender perspective that includes the analysis of power issues. The possibilities of mental health researchers and professionals to contribute to eliminate violence against women are discussed, including the need to review any obstacles which difficult changing beliefs, values, institutions and practices that engender and reproduce violence in women and men.
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