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South Asian concludes violence against women

The three-day South Asian Conference on Violence against Women concluded here on Saturday with a consensus that survivor of violence has to traverse to get justice.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

4th October 2011 16:00

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

The meeting was attended by women rights activists including lawyers, professionals, development workers, media and others from diverse ethnic, religious communities, sexual orientations, in South Asia.

They shared common concerns at the pervasive violence in their lives and the ineffectiveness of the state to recognize and address the causes of violence within our family, in the community and by the state.

The conference also deepened the analysis to community and media response to violence and looked at informal mechanisms of justice that sometimes women resort to as they are more accessible.

On the last day, the first session revolved around the role of media in addressing gender issues. Chaired by Zahida Hina, a renowned writer and columnist, the discussion highlighted the role, the media can play in building a more responsive society towards incidences of violence of women.

Speakers including Urvashi Butalia (India), Myra Imran (Pakistan) and Arfana Malla (Pakistan) critically reviewed how the media frames these issues.

A point of discussion was how the media sometimes oversteps its role as information provider and becomes service providers in cases of violence and because they often lack training, they further violate rights such as confidentiality and consent.

The second session looked into the experiences of working with men and involving them to take affirmative action for ending violence against women.

From Nepal, Bandana Rana gave the details about the experiences of her organization, Saathi Ekantakun, in engaging men in the arena of sports.

Taking on the session, Imran Rizvi, Director, Amal highlighted the dilemmas and challenges those men who do gender work face.

He stated how women and men have different perspectives on violence while for women it is the truth and a reality where as for men it is often not so.

Taking part in the discussion, Dr. Santosh Kumar Giri, narrated his experiences of organizing a transgender campaign at Durga Puja, an annual Hindu festival in India.

He highlighted the need for an acknowledgement of the violence in the lives of the transgender community.

Maria Rashid, Director Programmes, Rozan said work with men has been happening for some time now however, the lens of masculinities allows us the opportunity to work with men in more meaningful ways.

She stressed that within patriarchy where all men are powerful it is important to recognize that they are not all equally powerful and that there are hierarchies within masculinities.

The final session, looked at ethical dilemmas faced by service providers when working with violence survivors. It provided a space for reflection of individuals and groups that work with survivors and attempted to identify principles or mechanisms that increase accountability to survivors.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2011