By September 10, 2013 Read More →

CSW57, March 7, Day 4

A Faith Based Response to Gender Based Violence- Launching of a Report

Hosted by the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), the event marked the launch of the report, A Mapping of Faith-based Responses to Violence against Women and Girls in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Luis Mora, Chief of Gender, Human Rights and Culture Branch for the UNFPA, moderated the panel discussion. In his opening remarks, he emphasized the three dimensional role of faith based organizations (FBOs) in responding to violence against women and girls:

•Religion is a critical part of most cultures.

•Religious actors are gate keepers of local cultures. They shapes the values and customs of society through their services.

•FBOs provide over 30% of the basic health care services in developing countries.

Among the distinguished panelists were-

Penny Williams, Australian Global Ambassador for Girls and Women

Kiran Bhatia, Regional Gender Advisor, Asia Pacific Region, UNFPA

Tim Costello, CEO, World Vision Australia

Koisau Sade, World Vision Solomon Islands Gender Coordinator

Vaela Devesi, Solomon Islands Monistry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs.

Fred Siniki, Faith Leader from Solomon Islands

Kiran Bhatia presented briefly the findings of the report. She stressed the importance and the positive impact of the involvement of volunteers in FBOs response to the cases of gender based violence. These organizations can also be role models for their communities, given the respect and powerful influence they have as providers of spiritual guidance. She sited the example of faith leaders on many different religions in India, coming together to express solidarity against discriminatory practices such as child sex selection.

Tim Costello acknowledged the important role religion played in shaping our societies and cultures, particularly in the developing world. The men holding the sacred texts are the ones who are trusted by most. He shared World Vision’s new approach in working with these trust holders in developing nations: Channels of Hope for Gender. Through this program, experts dig deeper into various sacred texts, bringing to light the true and intended meanings. With combination of workshops and intensive residential training, visiting pastors from Africa inspired faith leaders in the Solomon Islands to become agents of change. Setting an example, Tim shared that prior to the workshop, pastors of the Solomon Islands was invited to draw an image representing a man and a woman. The archbishop of the islands drew a man with a spear in one hand and kicking with one leg. He drew the woman with a long and twisted tongue: a gossiper who needed to be disciplined by her male partner. Such were the cultural conceptions of the faith leaders, which were much transformed after being exposed to the Channels of Hope for Gender. To conclude, Tim said that in dealing with the issue on a global level, interfaith dialogues required us not to put our faiths aside, but to come together bringing our core beliefs with us.

Fred Siniki, a faith leader from the Solomon Islands shared his story of transformation. Having witnessed his father be violent towards his mother, he grew up to be a perpetrator of domestic violence himself. He believed that men were always the boss. He said that his traditional beliefs were different from the teachings of the Bible. Men often cherry picked what they wanted to hear from the sacred texts. “We do not let the Bible speak to us”, he added. Being trained by male faith leaders, from the Channels of Hope for Gender project, had a particularly significant impact on his acceptance of this new found understanding. His wife is now the happiest woman in the community! He understands his wife to be an equal partner and that a relationship of love and respect brings happiness and peace. With this new found awareness his attitude and behavior have completely changed and peace and contentment reins in his family. With a leader such as him now transformed, men in his community feel more empowered to talk about the issue. He also inspires many men in his community who look up to him. He concluded saying “Life is not about religion, but about loving relationships.”

The panelists as well as the report sufficiently demonstrated that faith and religion can play a very responsive and compassionate role in eradicating violence against women as no religion, no faith and no culture justifies these acts under any circumstances.

Reported by BKUN delegation at the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.

CSW57, March 7, Day 4

Friday, March 8, 2013

We need each other as Allies and Promote Diversity and Share our Successful Stories

MADRE, an NGO working with women’s rights brought together this colorful event where women allied with the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community and shared their experiences on the the inter-sectionality of this issue.

They referred to patriarchy as their common enemy. A common link between women and LGBTQ communities is that they are often marginalize and persecuted which is also a form of violence, said Rose Cunningham an indigenous leader fighting for women rights and working with LGBT groups. She also believes that working together is growing together and a way to promote diversity.

Azusa Yamashita shared a successful story of how despite the conservative traditions in Japan, she was able to form a group of young people and create Gay Japan News. She also worked with her local government to establish a hotline service for the LGBT in her community.

Another successful story came from Thilaga Sulathireh, a community organizer in Malaysia. She co-found Justice for Sisters, an NGO that works with lawyers to obtain funds and sustain the transgender community in many ways.

I really enjoyed the event because it inspired me to explore ways to work with the LGBT community and share solutions with a spiritual perspective, when it comes to gender based violence.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Our Privacy Policy   |   Our Cookie Policy