AWP Network founder, Mary Olushoga spoke at a CSW 57 Series on “Winning Strategies for Preventing Violence Against Women – Sharing Global and National Models,” an event sponsored by the Women’s Intercultural Network (WIN), U.S. Women Connect, TEWA Women United, Decisions in Democracy International, Coalition of Women from Asia and the Middle East, Women News Network, the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, and SouthWest.com.
Honorable Jackie Weatherspoon moderated the panel. Olushoga along with Elahe Amani, and Assistant District Attorney Audrey Moore, discussed winning strategies in dealing with violence against women. Violence against women occurs in all geographic regions, countries, cultures, and socioeconomic classes. “Experts view violence against women as a symptom of historical unequal power relationships between men and women, and argue that over time this imbalance has led to pervasive cultural stereotypes and attitudes that perpetuate a cycle of violence.”
Elahe Amani, President of the Coalition of Women from Asia and the Middle East, talked about the “need for a systematic and coordinated multi-sectoral sustained approach to fight violence against women.” AWP Network founder, Mary Olushoga highlighted the use of media and technology in telling the stories of African women and girls. Olushoga also stressed the need for women to gain financial independence, literacy, and empowerment. Bureau Chief, Audrey Moore said, “so much of domestic violence is underreported.” Moore emphasized collaboration with the criminal justice system and the need to change the dialogue in how victims of violence are treated.
The event was well attended and women from various parts of the world were present. Some came in from Sweden, Japan, Canada, San Francisco, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. Participants contributed to the discussion and added to the existing body of knowledge. A young participant from Sweden called for the need to dialogue with men and boys, and to encourage them to challenge social norms about masculinity. Collaboration and partnerships are indeed necessary to create impact.
Suggestions on what we need to do from here:
• Work together to influence government, laws, and public policy,
• Support other women and their fight for freedom and democracy,
• Promote community engagement, awareness, violence prevention, and education,
• Encourage the use of conflict resolution and mediation as an effective tool for change,
• Support non-governmental organizations that engage women,
• Establish a hotline and make resources available,
• Support the victim using the legal system,
• Establish trust with victims and build relationships with various partners.
Questions to think about:
• What are the current areas of concern for women and girls in your local community?
• How do you move from talk to action?
• Does your respective country have a national action plan for women? If not, how do you create or develop this plan?
• How can technology help women in the fight against violence?
• How do we engage the religious community?
Tell us your story on what you are doing to further the conversation on VAW.
Can you list five (5) ways the world can reduce violence for women & girls by International #WomensDay #IWD 2014. Chat with us on twitter: @Africwomenpower