Friday, December 01, 2006

Question of the Week – Dec 1

On November 25th 1999, the United Nations officially declared the first International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. While this brought much needed international attention to the cause, it’s important to remember that many organizations, especially women’s organizations have already been working courageously to end this issue for decades.

Do you think societal attitudes towards violence against women have changed enough over the past couple of decades ? Are we making real progress towards eliminating violence against women? What attitudes still need to be changed/overcome?

5 comments:

mark satterthwaite said...

Hey! Glad to see that you guys are blogging...
I think that we've made loads of progress but there's a long way to go. More people creating awareness by aligning themselves with organizations like yours... That's the way to do it.

I try to keep my eyes open for events that raise awareness, and I was really happy to help with your bowlathons in the last few years. Totally fun, and a great way to make a difference.
Looking forward to more postings!

patrick said...

While the UN Declaration on Violence Against Women provides a good beginning for defining gender-based violence it must be updated to reflect the impact of new technologies for creating and distributing media which depicts this violence.

The current definition (Article 1) reads:

"Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life".

It would be helpful if the definition was ammended to include the creation, distribution and consumption of electronic media depicting the abuse defined by the UN definition.

Digital cameras, cell phones, web cameras, and the internet have contributed to a consierable increase in consumption of images, video and even text which effectively re-victimize the victims of violence with each download/viewing.

The primary challenge remains how to operationalize UN declaration and achieve change. Thankfully organizations like White Ribbon, MASA, and Men For Change are working to change men's attitudes. They need our support.

White Ribbon,
www.whiteribbon.ca

MASA
www.sa.rochester.edu/masa/

Men For Change
www.chebucto.ns.ca/CommunitySupport/Men4Change/index.htm

megan said...

I believe that we are starting to make real progress on many fronts in the fight to increase awareness of and combat violence against women. This effectiveness can be seen, in part, in the way that it has been pushed into the edges of society. This can take the form of internet-based predator groups (with their emphasis on the violence of sexual exploitation of women and young children) or in minority cultures where women are suppressed or where conflicts between males are expressed as violence towards female family members. A growing question is how the fight to end violence against women can be brought into these often closed networks or societies to effect real change and a universal acceptance of our equal rights.

Bruce Wood said...

With the exception of assaults against women as reported to police (and those numbers are open to interpretation)there is no evidence that violence against women is being reduced in Canada. I am concerned that we have not done enough to engage with adult men or provide them with the tools for speaking with one another.
As a therapist and activist I was part of those discussions decades ago wherein we assumed that if we could speak to the boys/educate the young "men of tomorrow" that things would change. Until the White Ribbon came along there were very few efforts to work with adult men outside of the Tx environment.We assumed that by ignoring the men we could change years of messages about male privilege and entitlement. We were wrong and the horrific stats coming out about dating violence in Canada and the states, the continuing objectification of women and girls in music, media and on the internet are proving it so.
I celebrate efforts like White Ribbon and the new WHO - MenEngage that assume adult men to be either allies in ending violence against women and/or open to change.
Our centre (saskatoonmenscenter.com)is part of a growing network of Profeminist and Gay affirmative mens centres around the world and we are proud to be leading the WRC campaign in Saskatoon
We do not take the position that "men need education" but rather "how can we support men in speaking out". This approach seems to offer men the chance to work with us rather than to be "worked on by us".

Amirhossein said...

Although there has been changes thruogh out most of the societies, I believe we still have a long way to go. Situation is not good in many of the countries.
Second hand citizen image of women in Asia and especially Middle East as part of Asia; Sexual exploitation of women of former Eastern European countries, African women or South Americans (it can be closely experienced in countries such as South korea, UAE (significantly in Dubai)).
These will push it all away from a near appropriate situation.
Although there has been a significant progress in Social and Economical issues, when it comes down to private life, men are still the superior gender in most of the cases and therefore violent acts are justified. Violent act against women and second hand citizen vision is a part what that is being preached in Middle East (coming from a country in that region).
so unless a change of vision occurs, we will not achieve what we are looking for and, to me, it would not be possible unless we have a very clear vision and a long term/short term plan in order to change the vision of the coming generations, while improving the current situation. This doesn't mean that we forget the ones who are suffering now, but both have these and the future ones in plan. have separate plans and therefore separate approaches and tactics to tackle the issue.
We need to figure out different ways of education to educate younger ones in countries with higher rate of violence against women and the one with less rates. the approaches cannot be one, since the attitude, way of life and understanding of people in diffrent regions (even from a country to another) is different. Definitely the younger ones need different education than the older.
The last but not the least for me is that there should be more cooperation between organisations who are working to improve the situation and tackle the issue. I see no reason why two organisations shall address the same problem in the same time, while resources could be shared in order to achieve the goal, which is one, faster.