by Heather Smith, President of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association (NBTA)
Hosted by the All India Women's Conference, a round table was held to address the strategies and partnerships necessary to afight violence against women. There was recognition that this violence could take many forms, including physical, psychological and socioeconomic violence. Five minute presentations were delivered by ten women working with NGOs in the following countries: India, Egypt, Netherlands, Cyprus, Russian Fderation, Pakistan and Scotland.
There was a recurring theme that there needs to be "willing partners in dialogue in order to find solutions." There were many suggestions of who these partners could/should be including psychologists, political scientists, lawyers, politicians, while recognizing the importance of involving family members.
Of interest, were the multiple references to the necessity of including men in this drive for change. There was consensus that education is necessary in order to develop a health respect between boys and girls. This education should be started early and should involve all family members, especially parents. The question was asked: How are we raising our boys?
There should be nothing normal abouty abuse and violence againsyt women and the circle of violence needs to be broken. The circle of violence is when a person who witnessed violence in the home growing up continues abusing women as they develop their own personal relationships.
There has been progress, especially in the judiciary, due to the pressures by civil society. However the comment was made that if society was civil, there would no longer be any violence against women. In India, especially since the widely reported gang rape of a girl on a Delhi bus, there has been pressure on the government for change in the judiciary. In 2011 alone, 95,000 rape cases are still pending since they are not considered a high priority.