Gender Equality - I have an 11 year old daughter

on Tuesday, 05 November 2013. Posted in Bangladesh, Current News, Speak Up, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea

Break the Cycle Cambodia Lyd

I have an 11 year old daughter. I read a story this morning about an 11 year old Cambodian girl who has lived a very different life to my daughter. She lives with the belief that a girl is pure like white linen, but once she has been "stained" she is stained forever and no longer valuable. You can imagine what this means for that little precious girl - living in poverty - there are a few distinct industries where there is money to be made...

I then went on to read the "UN survey of 10,000 men in Asia and the Pacific reveals why some men use violence against women and girls -10 Sep 2013".

A UN study of 10,000 men in Asia and the Pacific found that overall nearly half of those men interviewed reported using physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner, ranging from 26 percent to 80 percent across the sites studied. Nearly a quarter of men interviewed reported perpetrating rape against a woman or girl, ranging from 10 percent to 62 percent across the sites.

Men were interviewed across nine sites in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea. The study, entitled 'Why Do Some Men Use Violence Against Women and How Can We Prevent It? Quantitative Findings from the UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific' was conducted by Partners for Prevention, a regional joint programme of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women and United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Asia and the Pacific. It asked men about their use and experiences of violence, gendered attitudes and practices, childhood, sexuality, family life and health.

"This study reaffirms that violence against women is preventable, not inevitable" says James Lang, Programme Coordinator, Partners for Prevention. "Prevention is crucial because of the high prevalence of men's use of violence found across the study sites and it is achievable because the majority of the factors associated with men's use of violence can be changed."

Emma Fulu, Research Specialist for Partners for Prevention says, "We hope to see this new knowledge used for more informed programmes and policies to end violence against women. Given the early age of violence perpetration we found among some men, we need to start working with younger boys and girls than we have in the past. We also need laws and policies that clearly express that violence against women is never acceptable, as well as policies and programmes to protect children and end the cycles of violence that extend across many people's lives."

Even in our community where we know that "no means no", there are still the conversations that we should teach our girls to dress modestly and behave a certain way so that they aren't abused.  Now, I'm all for modesty, self respect and staying sober, but not to avoid abuse, but for respect of myself and others.

My belief has always been that if we teach our boys (I have three teenage boys) to respect themselves, respect others and gender equality, our world would be a much brighter place for all.

We are created equal. Where did that go? Where has the heart of creation - that man is not complete without woman - gone? Where is the heart of complementing each other in light of our differences? Why are we living with one gender feeling the need to have power over another?

I know this opens a whole can of worms, but imagine for a minute that we remember the fact that we are created equal, that we live it, that we teach it to our children worldwide.

In our home our children are asked to consider not using words like "sexy", "hot", "chick", or any other names I cannot bring myself to mention - to describe the opposite gender. For us, these names do not indicate respect, equality or care for another person.

We will continue to teach and lead our children in the ways of respect for self and others and gender equality.

We will continue to find project partners who are instilling these values into the children in their care.

What will you do to ensure that our girls are safe because our boys know that they are equal in value and worth - even when they don't respect themselves.

It confirms for me that we have to be the voice and the hands and feet of God to make a difference in our global community - a world where Millennium Development Goals don't need to exist, because we live in a world of equality.

UNDP Report in PDF - 'Why Do Some Men Use Violence Against Women and How Can We Prevent It? Quantitative Findings from the UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific'

UNDP Article - "UN survey of 10,000 men in Asia and the Pacific reveals why some men use violence against women and girls -10 Sep 2013"

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