Thursday 15th March: Side event

15 Mar

 Today we hosted our side event with Restored, entitled ‘A relationship based approach to preventing and ending violence against women and girls’, which was well attended by Mothers’ Union members and Anglicans. We showed the video of Jeanette that I recorded last week, in which she highlighted how violence affects women and girls in Papua New Guinea and what Mothers’ Union is doing to address it. Members work with families to develop healthy and respectful attitudes in children in order to prevent acceptance of gender based violence (GBV). Members raise awareness of GBV in villages, using the local language, and encourage women to break the silence on violence; and specialists are used to lead workshops and train Mothers’ Union and Church leaders on GBV. Members also work with other mainline churches and NGOs to campaign and lobby government on ending GBV.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mandy Marshall then spoke about the work of Restored, which is working to create a global Christian alliance to end violence against women and girls, and a men’s movement within it. She highlighted how church and culture can institutionalise and excuse violence in different ways, but that where culture kills, culture has to change; and that scripture can never be used to justify violence.

We were delighted to learn, during the feedback session, that the view of Mothers’ Union held by one gentleman in the audience had been transformed (in a positive way) as he learned about our work to end GBV.

MU and Restored side eventFollowing the side event, I went through the next version of the agreed conclusions and passed on comments to the UK negotiator this evening. At this point, generally, there are fewer dramatic changes to the text and the work is more around amending and bringing together paragraphs. There was some new language acknowledging violence from former partners, which is incredibly important to acknowledge. We are only too familiar with stories of women being murdered by their former husbands and partners.

I rounded the day off by starting the process of cramming my possessions back into my suitcase.

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