Antonio Banderas: “Real men don’t hit women”
Spanish actor and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Antonio Banderas took time off from filming in Chile’s Atacama desert to record a message for the eradication of violence against women.
In the video message, shown during the 10th International Poetry festival of Granada, Nicaragua, he praised the festival’s initiative to support the UN Secretary General’s campaign UNiTE to End violence against Women.
“As a male and as an artist I believe that women are a source of life—and poetry. Not even with a rose petal should women be offended or abused,” Banderas said, reminding viewers that more than half of the women in the world suffer some form of abuse—physical, psychological or sexual—in the course of their lifetime.
“But that must end,” Banderas said. “Hitting or abusing a woman is an act of cowardice. Real men don’t hit women.”
“I invite you, as poets or lovers of poetry, to join this cause, to denounce such violence and promote a culture that eradicates inequality and provides women with much deserved respect,” Banderas added.
Violence against women has reached alarming levels in Latin America and the Caribbean, where seven out of 10 women are assaulted by their partner and almost half (47%) have been victims of at least one sexual assault over the course of their lives.
In Central America two out of three women were murdered by men—often intimate partners— just because they were women. In Guatemala, two women are murdered, on average, each day.
Many of these situations of violence begin in the early stages of relationships, during courtship, among very young Latin-Americans. It is a clear sign that inequalities in the relationship between men and women persist.
Last year UNDP and sister UN agencies joined a regional campaign that questions traditional notions of manhood (or machismo) in which boys are taught at young age that "being a man" means exercising control, force and violence. The campaign El valiente no es Violento (the brave man is not violent), seeks especially to sensitize young men to be agents of change and advocate for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.