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At the Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) Conference “25 years of defending women’s human rights: Milestones and visions for the future”

Welcome to Estonia and thank you for adding your wave to our wave.

Waves tend to amplify each other. Here in Estonia we are at the top of a considerable societal wave, having finally recognized that we have a problem and we have to find ways and means that would help us to solve the problem.

We are looking into the mirror now. Yet, only a few years ago we did not. We tended to think that since we are not a rich Scandinavian country, we cannot solve these problems and thus it may be better not even to speak about them.

People like Pille Tsopp-Pagan and her colleagues had to swim against this previous wave day by day, hearing that this problem is not important. That we have to grow our economy, deal with more pressing issues, and then maybe one day, when everything else is solved, we may start looking at the weaker in this society.

In many emerging countries, Estonia included, it seems quite common that the problems of the weaker are overlooked in the hope that some day in the future we will be better off and these issues would become resolved by themselves.

Estonia is a rare example of a country that has been able to radically change its economy for the better. Therefore we are now also able to disprove that if economy does well then all the social problems would disappear. It is markedly visible that we need to make a special effort to resolve these problems, including violence against women.

We feel very much supported by you. You validate our action here. Although there are still people here who doubt if we really have to deal with these issues, we are getting there. With your help, maybe a year or 6 months quicker, and somebody will find it easier to climb over the wall that separates the society or happy and the society of desperately unhappy and not knowing how to tell the other part that they are looking for help.

The growth of your organization within these 25 years – from a small informal network to the lively coalition of 150 members, representing 46 countries – reflects well the wave of change that we see around us.

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