By Christine Laverty
This session included a panel of three and was hosted by The Commonwealth Youth and Equality Network. The session began with identifying some harrowing facts:
• sexual violence has been experienced by women and girls as young as 2 months and as old as 70
• some countries consider rape by a father to be a "family issue"
• 98% of girls polled felt that when boys grabbed them by their body parts that it was a joke
• there is a common myth that "silence protects families" when it comes to sexual violence
The magnitude and devastating consequences of this violence requires that all resources be accessed.
Taking an intergenerational approach utilizes all the power of having the knowledge of the past and a good sense of the future. The discussion turned towards how effective solutions can also start in the home, with supporting and educating each other.
A common theme that we have been hearing over the last couple of days is that education and empowering women and girls is key. The panelist explained that a group of adolescent girls were given self-defence tai kwon do lessons and within three months 98% of the girls felt that they would be able to defend themselves.
Another empowering action we heard about was that the adolescent girls worked together to come up with an action plan on how their community could help them to prevent and deal with sexual violence and this plan was supported by the government.
Working with all generations provides for sharing of experiences, causes sustainable stability, develops a positive attitude towards aging and a compromising approach to one another.
Some interesting links that were referenced in the discussion are attached to this email