Ending Violence Against Women now translated in Spanish and French

It is with great pleasure that I post the web version of  ‘Ending Violence Against Girls and Women’  in French and Spanish.

New 11  Ending Violence Against Girls and Women  This paper is not intended to provide a comprehensive understanding of violence against women and girls around the world but rather to share information that may provide some insight into the work done by Good Shepherd Sisters in all major regions of the world.

New 11Mettre fin à la violence faite aux femmes et aux filles    Ce document n’est pas destiné à fournir une compréhension globale de la violence faite aux femmes et aux filles à travers le monde, mais plutôt de partager l’information qui peut donner un aperçu du travail effectué par les soeurs du Bon Pasteur dans toutes les grandes régions du monde.

New 11Poner Fin a la Violencia contra las Niñas y las Mujeres  Este documento no pretende abarcar exhaustivamente la violencia contra las mujeres y las niñas alrededor del mundo, sino más bien compartir información que pueda ofrecer una visión más profunda sobre el trabajo realizado por las Hermanas del Buen Pastor en más de 72 países de todas las grandes regiones del mundo en que se hallan presentes las Hermanas del Buen Pastor, según lo expresado por su declaración de misión.


Sign on to this statement placing women at the heart of Post 2015 development framework to achieve an end to poverty

Did you read the post of March 22 – Gender Equality to end poverty?    The statement highlights the centrality of gender equality to the achievement of human sustainable development and poverty eradication, as well as achievement of the other development goals.  The statement has been further developed and signatures are invited.  You can read the full statement to High Level Panel  and  Sign here to endorse the call for Gender Equality to End Poverty



A Localized Approach to Ending the Global Problem of Gender Based Violence by Victoria Ashley

Victoria Ashley, a current Good Shepherd Volunteer in the New York Province  writes… “During the second week of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women I attended a forum held to discuss the best approach for addressing the global issue of gender based violence (GBV), specifically in the poverty stricken country of Nepal.

The panelist brought up some interesting facts about Nepal, which gave me a better idea of the country’s political and social state. I learned that currently Nepal’s poverty rates rank 157th out of 187 countries, and has been and continues to face high levels of illiteracy rates (a major factor shown to contribute to gender based violence). These statistics are partially due to the displacement of citizens after the civil war ending in 2006, and lack of true governance for the people. I also learned that many of the cultural traditions and practices of Nepal are rooted in their patriarchal caste system, which still remains a powerful influence on Nepalese society to this day.

Dr. Mary Crawford, a Professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, was one of the panelists leading the discussion on gender based violence in Nepal. She raised the contemporary issue of sex trafficking in this war torn country. Based on her own research and work in Nepal, Dr. Crawford witnessed the extent of gender discrimination and limitations placed on Nepalese women. From this research she wrote the book; Sex Trafficking in South Asia: Telling Maya’s Story, which describes the social construction of trafficking and its destructive and limiting effects on women and girls within the society. To demonstrate the severity of discrimination that is faced by women, Dr. Crawford quoted a Nepal proverb which states; “Educating your daughter is like watering another man’s garden.” I thought that this raised many issues, one being that in Nepal the son’s education is valued above the daughters and secondly, the daughter’s education is not a high priority for those holding power in Nepal.  This proverb demonstrated how deeply embedded these problems are within the Nepalese society, and after hearing this it became easier to understand why Nepal currently ranks 113th out of 144th on the UN’s gender equality index.

Dr. Crawford explained that since GBV has been a low priority for the government of Nepal, NGO’s have taken the initiative, leading campaigns to raise awareness and provide support services. However, Dr. Crawford brought up some of the problems that have resulted from these initiatives. In an effort to raise awareness to the issue of sex trafficking, NGO’s unintentionally scared women into staying home from school, in fear of leaving the safety of their own homes. Issues of violations of privacy were also occurring after certain NGO’s inadvertently disclosed private information concerning victims. In trying to provide care and prevent further harm some efforts have only made matters worse for Nepalese women. Noting this in her research, Dr. Crawford concluded that in to avoid these types of problems and successfully deal with the issue of GBV, a localized approach must be taken with attention to individual cases.

Interestingly enough, Dr. Crawford suggested more training and support for NGO staff, insuring greater and professional expertise for in every case. In some cases staff members have received less than 6 months of training. She also pointed out that education is key to intervention, along with providing alternatives to former life styles for women trying to support themselves. She suggested income-generating programs would be an important resource that would provide other options for these women, and a chance to leave their former life styles for good.

After getting a better idea of the bigger picture and understanding the extent of which GBV permeates the Nepalese culture I could really see the importance of the points Dr. Crawford raised. Taking a localized approach to dealing with problems within a society is imperative to creating lasting change. Progress will only come with internal changes gradually made over time, rather than sweeping legislative agenda and support programs that only tackle one aspect of the problem. By getting a better understanding of the culture and the way that it influences women’s lives is the only way to offer unique, supportive services for specific populations. What works well in Nepal may not in Thailand, and vice versa.  Dr. Crawford’s discussion was extremely informative and I believe that that raises an important point as well, and I’ll end with this; listening to the voices that offer first-hand accounts is crucial to ending gender based violence. These voices bring insights and perspectives that should be taken back to the table where plans are made and ideas shared, only through that sharing will we continue to connect on a global level and successfully make an impact on gender based violence. “

A survey of services provided globally by Good Shepherd Sisters in 24 countries

In summary, the data presented in this paper serves to support evidence of the widespread prevalence of VAWG and illustrates practical measures that have been taken, with success to combat such violence.   Ending Violence Against Girls and Women Web Version

Advance Unedited Version of CSW 57 Agreed Conclusions

Now posted on UN Women Website CSW57_agreed_conclusions_advance_unedited_version_18_March_2013           It is currently only available in English.   You may be interested in the US position following adoption of the Agreed Conclusions.  “The United States welcomes today’s adoption of the Agreed Conclusion … read more

African Women’s Caucus Position Statement 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence against Women and Girls

Read the African interventions during CSW 57    There are a number of statements echoing more or less the same content.  Begin with the Oral Statement  Click here  African W omen’s Caucus Oral Statement to CSW 57  At the bottom of this statement there is a link to another statement on Resolution 1325   –  the commitments to ensure the representation of women in peace process including the prevention, resolution, management of conflicts and post-conflict reconstruction –  and the African Women’s Caucus Position Statement.                                                                                      Ferew Lemma, NGO Regional Designate for ‘Good Shepherd’ in Africa attended CSW 57 and this Caucus on your behalf.  Links are also provided to  ADDIS ABABA DECLARATION OF AFRICA MINISTERIAL PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE 57TH SESSION OF THE COMMISION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN ON THE PRIORITY THEME:  ELIMINATION AND PREVENTION OF ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS    Addis_Declaration_on_ending_VAWG_ADOPTED_16_Jan_2013  AND FRENCH  DÉCLARATION D’ADDIS-ABEBA Fr._Addis_Declaration_on_ending_VAWG_ADOPTED_-_REV

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The United Nations agreed on a declaration to prevent and condemn violence against women and girls regardless of “any custom, tradition or religious consideration”

United Nations – Muslim and Western nations overcame deep divisions to agree on a landmark United Nations Code to combat violence against women and girls.  Continue to read

Peace March





Women, led by Yoo Soon-taek, wife of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and actresses Susan Sarandon and Monique Coleman, march outside the U.N. general assembly building to mark International Women’s Day. Photo by: Mark Garten / U.N.

Activists welcome hard-fought UN agreement on women’s rights

The Guardian has this report on the successful conclusion of CSW 57  Check out the whole article

Here is a snippet with links:  “But the agreement was hard fought and civil society groups expressed “deep concern” over attempts by some conservative member states and groups to derail the process and undermine previous agreements.”

Another Perspective on CSW 57

An objective piece on NGO participation or lack of it in CSW 57.  Read More   Good Shepherd as an NGO had two passes – and while they permit one to enter the corridors of the UN they do not gain access to the negotiating room.  NGO access is had by being a member of a national delegation.   I did have a meeting with a member of the Irish Mission who was negotiating on behalf of women human right defenders.  This is retained in the document.  Well done!   Throughout the two weeks I sent on two separate occasions e-mails containing language with regard to Human Trafficking and Prostitution to 15 member states of the Commission.  In the final document you will note that the paragraphs on Human Trafficking are strong  but all reference to prostitution  has disappeared … thus permitting prostitution to continue and not naming it for what it is sexual exploitation and violence towards women and girls.  Yes there is agreement around the violence of Human Trafficking but no agreement around Prostitution.

A quote from  the link above and I quote it because I have heard these stories too…

“The women delegates of, for example, Afghanistan, Egypt and Iran may declare unchallenged, in the UN building, that their governments respect women’s status and progress, is being made. But we, in our restricted place across the road, listen in grief and pity to accounts of rape, sexual slavery, be headings of women activists and human rights defenders; of women imprisoned for fleeing forced marriage, of widow abuse, and of honour killings disguised as suicide. And of young women activists stripped and sexually assaulted in Tahir Square, Cairo. Of what is really happening to the women of Libya and Syria. Rape may be a weapon of war, but women’s bodies are being targeted in many countries, post conflict, and during revolution, and where there is no war. …  As member States pontificate, many mouthing platitudes, women and girls are dying, or if not dead, destroyed.”


Good Shepherd Team at CSW 75

2013-03-03 07.46.34I was present with Ferew from Ethiopia in the UN corridors from 3.00 p.m until after 9.00 p.m. and witnessed the adoption of the outcome document.  It is truly a historic moment for women’s rights.  In a blog post during the long wait I asked some questions as to why it is difficult to get agreement.  But eventually agreement was reached.  Yes, there is a strong outcome document but could it have said more?   Read here about the final session of CSW 57 on Friday evening March 15th   The blogger, Joni van de Sand  is a friend from Holland whom I met 2 years ago  If you follow her blog entries you will get a good overview of CSW 57.

The photograph – Good Shepherd Team at CSW 57:   Ferew Lemma from Ethiopia.  Hung-Hsin Liu from Taiwan who left NY at the end of the first week. Winifred Doherty and Wanching Chen, Taiwan who left NY on the morning of the Friday the 15th and was not present for the historic ending of CSW 57.  The team was supported by Maureen McGowan of Handcrafting Justice, Victoria Ashley of Good Shepherd Volunteers, Kimberly Moloche an Intern from St John’s College and Helga Sourek (Germany) who returned home after the first week.