28 March, 2014

International Women’s Day

On March 8th 140 men and women gathered together to celebrate International Women’s Day. They
heard the stories of four incredible, local women, working to end personal violence. Through stories of loss and triumph from eastern Africa to here in Colorado Springs, we learned more about resiliency and how it really does take a community to end violence against women.
Violence against women takes on many forms and can be masked in ways we cannot imagine. From the emotional abuse to honour killings and rape as a weapon of war, violence against any woman is violence against all humanity.
Some interesting notes to come out of the day:
  • Education for girls decreases early marriage, obstetric fistulas, and human trafficking. It leads to smaller families, increased family income, and decreases in poverty.
  • The majority of those trafficked are men for labor exploitation.
  • There is a strong relationship between the number of female legislators in a state’s congress and the funding available for victims of trafficking. However, the most effective examples are the ones in which female legislators pull in their male counterparts and get their buy in.
We cannot let personal violence become a niched women’s issue. Far too many see these issues as things that only affect women. We have allowed the discussion and the response to become too female driven. That is to say, we need to remember that violence affects men and women, that both men and women are perpetrators and that if we want to end it, we need to create a complete community response.
As we talk about what we know with others, let us remember and advocate that personal violence is a human rights issue. It does not just affect one group of people, it affects all of us.
“You are the hope God created for others” ~ Doris Rivera-Black