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The paper focuses on the concept of operative rights. The most adequate definition of ‘operative rights’ is the definition proposed by an American philosopher of law Beth J. Singer. In her book Operative Rights she is looking for a third way between communitarian and liberal concepts of rights. This article implements Singer’s theoretical framework discussing the topic of the legal system preventing violence against women in Poland, because the statistics show that a huge number of victims of domestic violence are women (about 70% each year), which renders this gender group the most exposed to violence. The explanation of this phenomenon can be found in the papers by Polish lawyers and sociologists, such as M. Płatek or D. Duch-Krzysztoszek. In their papers they are looking at factors in many different fields, focusing on historical, religious and political aspects of this issue, and especially the influential phenomenon of patriarchy. What is crucial here is connecting applicable legal norms, which should protect women against violence, with the phenomenon of gender violence. When analyzing the Polish legal system of preventing violence against women, it is necessary to remember about the international legal acts which have been incorporated into the national legal system, and what the benefits of being a party of international legal acts are. The crucial role in protecting women against violence is played by the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, opened for signature on 11 May 2011 in Istanbul. This is the first legal act dedicated almost entirely to violence against women. It is also the first act which directly defines violence against women (gender violence). The essential point is application of law. The article raises the issue of judgments in this scope, and focuses on how dilatoriness of Polish courts reduces the effectiveness of the relevant rights. The conclusion raises the issue of controversy and a feeding frenzy in the media caused by the Istanbul Convention and the attempts to block it by right-wing and Catholic Church circles. The debate focused almost exclusively on the ‘gender’ concept and related issues, while the whole point of the Convention – the real issue of violence against women – was lost. It would require an analysis of sociological data and a more accurate reflection of the entire system, which ultimately did not happen.