Untitled Document

 Violence against Women

 McCabe

 2009-08-12 오후 2:22:00  3106
- File 1 : MMI(McCabe-viol.).doc  (46 KB), Download : 729

 

Violence against Women

McCabe           

This paper has been submitted after Accts MMI were invited to exploratory talks with a UK based evangelical Christian organisation who believe that military Christians have a role to play in supporting a worldwide movement of Christian men committed to building positive relationships and ending violence against women.  Its purpose is to inform AMCF of developments in this field and to ask for prayerful consideration of AMCF support for a possible campaign to reduce violence against women.  It should be emphasised that this is at an exploratory phase at present and no commitments have been given.

 

This initiative is not  asking for AMCF or national MCFs to create a new ministry  but rather to pray and encourage Christians in the military to  follow  Christ’s teaching and to be salt and light in this regard.  The life and example of our Lord gives us the clearest example of how to have proper relationships with men and women.  The Bible puts clear requirements on men to honour and respect women.  Men and women are created jointly in the image of GOD and we are one on Christ Jesus.

 

The extent of violence against women

  • Violence against women is the most common but least punished crime in the world.
  • Globally, women between the age of fifteen and forty-four are more likely to be maimed or die as a result of male violence than through cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war combined.
  • At least one out of every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her. Domestic violence is the largest form of abuse of women worldwide, irrespective of region, culture, ethnicity, education, class and religion.
  • Systematic rape is used as a weapon of terror in many of the world's conflicts. It is estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 women in Rwanda were raped during the 1994 genocide.
  • Studies show the increasing links between violence against women and HIV and demonstrate that HIV-infected women are more likely to have experienced violence, and that victims of violence are at higher risk of HIV infection.

Figures taken from: Secretary-General's in-depth study on violence against women (2006) (A/61/122/Add.1)

 

There is evidence of an almost universal pattern of violence against women exacerbated by silence and impunity in both the domestic and the public sphere. This happens in both the “developed”“ and “undeveloped” nations of the world. Broken relationships and sexual violence are a reality.  In any room full of people, including in churches there are likely to be people who themselves have experienced or engaged in violence.  

 

 

Causes of violence against women

 

Violence against women is deep-rooted and resistant to change.  It is a manifestation of sin, and is often an expression of frustration and anger.  Rape is committed against women and girls of all ages.   Such violence can, in a few minutes, damage a woman’s health and well-being for life.  More persistent patterns of violence and intimidation lie at the heart of many relationships between men and women.  Violence can be fuelled by poverty and unemployment and is sustained by the lack of options of many women who are dependent on their partners or husbands.  

 

Many boys growing up lack positive role models that would promote masculinity in terms of love and respect for women.  Instead many societies, and even churches, encourage a culture of patriarchy, male power, male machismo and multiple sexual partners that tolerates and is complicit in acts of violence.  Women are often dis-empowered and unwilling or unable to highlight these issues, which remain grossly under-reported. 

 

Violence flourishes where there is no accountability, such as many soldiers in conflict and post-conflict situations, domestic violence unseen by outsiders and police arresting sex workers.  Refugees, migrant and mobile populations are particularly at risk.  Violence has strong links to HIV and sexual coercion.

 

What can be done?

 

There is also a growing recognition, of the need for men, and in our case Christian men in the military or with connections to the military, to be involved, taking responsibility for their actions and working with women to end violence.  Restored relationships lies at the root of this vision and I believe is a key tenet of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Focus on restored relationships based on biblical principles can be effective in reducing violence. 

 

The proposed approach may involve asking AMCF to encourage men in the military to make a personal commitment to work in their own families and communities to build positive relationships with women and oppose violence, and if it emerges, to join a global Christian campaign to see these goals achieved elsewhere. This will include working with and through the local church and to develop a holistic approach to violence prevention.

 

There can be no doubt that God’s heart breaks for those affected by violence; both survivors and perpetrators.  Sexual violence has become a stronghold of evil in the world.  To oppose it is to engage in a spiritual battle, and we should not underestimate the challenge that will be involved.  A vital part of this work will be the prayer strategy.

 

 

 

 

Proposed strategy

 

Currently a coalition of UK based Christian organisations is considering a radical biblical approach that promotes behaviour change with zero tolerance for all forms of violence against women.  The goal of this work is a world of positive relationships between men and women characterised by love and respect, in which women are free from violence and the fear of violence by men. Relationships between men and women are strengthened and violence against women is significantly reduced. 

 

From this, the coalition sets out its plan to develop a five-fold strategy to cover:

 

1.  Knowledge and understanding.  Men need to be aware of the reality of women’s experiences, to respect and listen to women and involve them at all level in the work.

 

2.  Cultural change.  Norms in wider society are shaped by the media, church and government. We aim for each national organisation to launch a campaign to produce materials for the media, Parliament, churches and other shapers of public opinion. 

 

3.  Ending impunity.  People commit crimes in part when they think they will get away with it.  Working with the International Justice Mission we will aim to strengthen laws and judicial systems with an aim of ending impunity. 

 

4.  Peer pressure and support.  We believe that atrocities occur within a group when some members wish to pursue it and there is not a critical mass of people who publicly oppose it.  This is particularly relevant for violence perpetrated by the military and police. By working with men’s professional groups, we hope to be able to raise standards in both preventing violence against women and dealing with perpetrators and survivors.  This can include training for professional personnel dealing with the survivors of rape (police, medical etc).

 

5.  Individual transformation.  A strong belief in the power of the gospel and prayer to bring about personal conversation and conviction.  Individuals can change through a real encounter with the Lord Jesus.

 

Approach

 

The coalition’s proposal is to begin with a pilot project national approach in the UK and two or three developing countries. 

 

There would be a search for global partners to enable this to be taken forward.  The aim would be to have a national platform in each country as part of a global coalition. International sectoral groups could be established to include Military, Police, Prison Officers, Teachers, Journalists, Pastors, Doctors and Students.  All structures would be open to both individuals and organisations

 

Next steps

 

If this goes ahead as proposed, there would be a one-year preparation phase from March 2009 with a formal launch in April 2010.  Potential partners include Christian Vision for Men in the UK and Micah Challenge globally.  Many other Christian organisations covering military, police, medical, media and other sectors would be encouraged to participate.  Support of one or two trusts would be sought to fund the programme going forward.   God is potentially opening the door to something of far-reaching and global significance. 

 

 

AMCF

 

AMCF is requested to consider if it wishes to become a part of such an imitative and to encourage MCFs to play a role. 

 

 

 

 

 
     

 


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