Stopping violence against women: WRCP calls for men's bigger role -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Stopping violence against women: WRCP calls for men’s bigger role

KARACHI (September 13 2007): The White Ribbon Campaign Pakistan’s (WRCP) first report on ‘Men for ending violence against women’, a project of Women’s Empowerment Group and Vision 2015 international, was released nationally and internationally on Wednesday.

Its Country Director Omer Aftab said that WRCP had completed its first year in Pakistan with the support of German government through GTZ. White Ribbon Campaign is the largest effort in the world of men working to end men’s violence against women.

As per keynote philosophy of the campaign to stop violence against women it is not sufficient to create awareness about women among women but it is necessary that men join with women to encourage norms of consent, respect and gender equality to challenge the unfair power relations who promote violence, gender roles based on non-violence and gender justice.

Therefore, men must become part of the solution by taking greater responsibility in altering their own behaviour and as role models for younger generation instead of becoming part of problem that is violence.

In Pakistan, several campaigns for social change were started in the past to improve the status of women in the society. However, they all targeted women to sensitise them on their rights, while men were included in these campaigns which left a huge gap. Justice can be provided by those who do injustice because they have the power to do both.

The International White Ribbon Campaign (WRC), a male initiative to end violence against women started in 1991 after the Montreal massacre, an act of genocide committed against female engineering students on December 6, 1989 at the University of Montreal. The campaign has an international presence now in 40 countries and is spreading at an increasing rate.

WRCP is an affirmative step towards gender equality in Pakistan but irrespective of the past women-focused initiative, it is based on an exotic and strategic approach to focus positive role of men for eradicating the evil of all kinds of violence against women in Pakistani society.

According to the report, WRC widely targets women and girls, male students aged 14-25 years, academic institutions, chambers of commerce, farmers’ associations, labour unions, traders’ associations, bar councils, press clubs, medical associations, government’s line agencies, local government representatives, political associations, NGOs, law enforcement agencies and policy makers.

Though the campaigners have faced many challenges during long years of achievements, ie, orthodox belief system especially among men in society related to ‘Violence Against Women’ (VAW) issues, irresponsive media and law enforcement agencies, religious fundamentalism, discriminatory laws and biased judicial system but the achievements have been marvellous.

Which are:

— Sensitised faculty cadre, especially male members related to EVAW for delivery of clear messages to students.

— Pool of motivated young leaders as change agent.

— Pool of mobilised volunteers with rich number of men.

— Network of academic institutions through activities all over Pakistan to meet joint cause.

— Men’s positive involvement in activities for joint cause of EVAW, and

— IEC motivational material as an asset.

WRC aims to continue its efforts vis-à-vis ending all kinds of violence against women, with men’s positive involvement by means of:

— Capacity development and leadership enhancement through youth leadership programme.

— Global E-networking through circulation and maintenance of WRC website and e-newsletters along with electronic membership mechanisms.

— E-opinion polls for broader networking and representation of people’s voices.

— Policy reforms through policy advocacy campaigns and lobbying with policy makers as well as law enforcement agencies for women-friendly laws as well as transparent and early legal procedures, and;

— Rising culture of right based approaches in media, ie, gender-responsive coverage/reporting through media campaigns, training of journalists.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:9/13/2007