Carlynne's Final Report from CSW

Posted At : March 5, 2012 1:40 PM

Violence against Women seems to be an ongoing issue at every CSW meeting I have attended.  The United Nations has studied the issue for over 10 years in countries with UN peace keeping forces and many women’s groups have reported about on the ground situations. 

Representatives of countries like Rwanda, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Argentina, India, Papua New Guinea, Nicaragua and many more countries report on gender based violence.  Again – women and girls always seem to be the first line of attack in any conflict, armed engagement or war.  They are the invisible casualty – and even when they are visible the world cannot find how to stop it. Look up words like fistula and genital mutilation.  Read about how women in war torn areas are surviving and in some cases thriving in the most incredible ways.  

In 2013, CSW 57 will turn its focus on that Violence as the theme will be “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”.

I was very fortunate to be able to attend the preparatory panel that discussed the theme for 2013. It was truly an electrifying experience.  There were official delegates from many different countries as well as many delegates of NGO’s in attendance.  There were three women who presented topics as part of the Preparatory Panel from Kenya, the UK and Nicaragua.  Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet, head of UN Women, also gave brief comments.  It is always a wonder to hear Michelle Bachelet speak.  She voices clearly how much work we have to do and how we must all participate – women, girls, men and boys – to create a gender equitable and safe world.  In celebrating the one year birthday of UN Women, we can see the beginning of change.  The creation of UN Women was a huge step in the right direction.

There are success stories for sure but they are few and far between.  At the risk of sounding negative, I am trying to sound the bell of reality. There is no country in the world that does not have some form of violence against women – whether domestic or war based.  Even in the United States.

Passing legislation such as CEDAW or ensuring the reenactment of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which is up for renewal in 2012 are first and important steps.  Action – real action - towards creating a gender safe country and world is what we must do. We owe ourselves that at a minimum.

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