Update: Report Needed re UN Meeting on Violence Against Women
Dear WILPF freinds,
May the calamities in the Gulf states in the coast of NC open our hearts and inform our analysis of the US dilemma.
As way of introduction: I'm a daughter of a pioneering social activist, greatgranddaughter of the Confederacy, I'm a mother of 2 teenager boys, I'm a war tax resister, I've worked with survivors of violence most recently in health clinics. Currently my primary community of activism is my Quaker meeting and I work doing research with patients at the urban Boston hospital.
I attended with other WILPF members the Sept 6-7 sessions on Violence Against Women at the UN. I met Milkah and Sam who are quite industrious working for Peace women and stopping gender-based violence. Watch out for UN WILPH's activities.
The UN conference had many ideas and terrific women there. But I missed having voices of women speaking from their own experience of violence. I spoke more as an advocate working with survivors of Intimate Partner Abuse. The ideas seemed quite erudite, a bit too academic for my plebian tastes, with not enough threshing time.
Still I learned valuable lessons: how Canada erased the word rape from its laws because it was problematic and universally says 'sexual assault.' Uganda has a Ministry of Gender right up there with other departments of defense and education.
We need to turn in a 3 page report (or two) to the UN by the 2nd week in October.
Here's where I'd like to start the dialogue:
1. How do we ask member states to be accountable for action against violence against women?
2. How do we address the underlying structures of violence? Violence against women will never cease while violence against Blacks, or gays, or the homeless exists. Can we make the case while looking at the racism and classism evident in the loss of life during Katrina’s calamity?
3. What prevents effective implementation of existing laws on violence against women?
4. What are promising practices at the national level?
May you keep learning and sharing,