gender-based violenceAngell Lu-Lebel | March 10, 2015
This week, the international youth coalition is participating in the united nations conference regarding the commission on the status of women. one of the major themes is concerning gender-based violence and the strategies which can be implemented in order to greatly reduce its frequency. You might be saying to yourself, well, it’s the 21st century, doesn’t everyone know that this sort of violence shouldn’t be happening? In theory, we should all know this, but for some reason, we don’t all know it. We see the same unfortunate patterns happening over and over again, due to living in a sinful world and where domination makes people feel powerful.
The first panel I attended had to do with protecting human rights defenders in various countries. The spokesperson from mexico shed light on the difficulty of living in a country where the government is heavily linked to organized crime. The panelist from afghanistian talked about the perpetrators being also linked to political officials and religious leaders. The two representatives from africa expressed similar sentiments. They stressed that government and religious leaders needed to be on board for plans to really work but were unsure on how to really change their mindset.
I then attended another panel dealing with the violence against women in severl European countries, such as Portugal, Poland, Italy and spain. Each of those countries had programs implemented which seemed to work quite well. I think sometimes we tend to forget that violence against women and girls still happens in countries which we perceive to be developed however there seem to be better ways of preventing it. For example, each of the countries that presented thought it was important to get all the local people involved as well as run media campaigns on the issue. There were also services such as womens’ shelters and crisis lines. However, the main thing that is noticeable that this is a collaborative effort by the state, as well as nGOs, who provide funding for these projects.
it’s a tricky question to answer. I personally am not sure what the right solution would be but simply theorizing laws and resolutions isn’t enough. As the Italian spokesperson said, it’s about changing the culture. This can be especially difficult in the cases of the countries of the first round table where the perpetrators are those in government or the police, the ones who are supposed to be protecting citizens and lead them to a better future. So we must pray, fervently, for the change of hearts, only when a person realizes that their actions are wrong will they be willing to change