Every year, the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations,CSW ,brings together thousands of government officials, representatives of civil society,UN and media organizations who gather to track progresses ,experiences and recommendable actions to facilitate the implementation of the Beijing platform for action.The 57th session of the CSW has just ended in New York under the theme “Prevention and Elimination of all forms of Violence against Women and Girls’’.
Grassroots women from all corners of the world were present,pouring out their hearts and discussing solutions.It felt like World Pulse had been taken off the internet to real life!
Sitting on my bed this quiet Tuesday night,I find it difficult to hold my thoughts and tears together as I think of all the stories I heard and the numerous telling eyes I looked into during the past weeks.Women from all over the world speaking the same language in different words.A strong outpour of sorrow, anger,pain and frustration was evident in some while others kept hopes high for a better tomorrow. Some stories made me cry so hard, that I almost forgot my reason for participating in the forum.I bet you, you would have done same if you heard the stories of rape,genital mutilation,property grabbing,battering,genital locking,menstrual seclusion,ritual rape of virgins,bride price,honor killing,violence in pregnancy,early and forced marriages,the list is inexhaustible.
Our hearts are hurting for the pain we `ve gone through, are going through and might still go through if we keep gathering and talking with no results to show for'' said Mary Osei from Ghana
''We are wasting our time here.I am telling you, this thing has become a form of entertainment,where we come year in, year out and pour out our stories, solutions and tears then go back home to our same old struggles.The day our governments would wake up to the unarguable reality that, we need a strong political commitment of states backed by appropriate resources to put an end to this senseless drama against women,we shall finally begin to move.For now we are dancing on the same spot.For some, the dance has become enjoyable while for others the sore is getting more red!On Friday they shall sign whatever and leave it on paper and we shall all retire, waiting to come back next year for another session of discussions and signatures that shall never be domesticated.Why has the US not ratified the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against Women?Dancing round a circle of pain what a shame!"V Adebayo Nigeria
''When I look at the journey from Beijing in 1995 to today in 2013,I see no difference in the lives of the women.I am sorry to say so.All what I see is that many more women are joining the chorus while others are retreating,where are we heading to in a world where arrows have been aimed towards women in all directions?Who is to blame for the adamant nature of this problem"lamented a sister from South African who refused to be identified.
''When we talk of grassroots women attending the CSW we might be tempted to think of the local women in various communities world wide.I am sorry to disappoint you, most women you will see here are the enlightened high class ladies who know their way around.The real women who are plagued by these issues of violence we are talking about hardly have the opportunity to come to such gatherings.That is why we are dancing on the same spot year in year out.''Oyebola Adetula,Nigeria
These are some of the strong voices of grassroots women I was able to capture as I permeated the circle of women who were raising their voices in the different parallel events at the CSW.I did not forget to tell them to log on to world Pulse and see the thunderous effects of grassroots womens voices echoing from all parts of the globe.I told them here on World Pulse we do not despair but discuss solutions.The tides might get higher and our scourges more intense but we are too aware of the physical and spiritual energy that abounds when women gather either online or physically.I also made them know on World Pulse we form a global sisterhood of support.Its only on a forum like ours, where voices can be picked from caves of torture to the glimmer of palaces and major decision making bodies.
One of the most touching events I attended was organized by the Young Christian Women Movement YWCA Nigeria.They exposed the various forms of female genital mutilation done in Nigeria and how deep rooted it is in certain areas of the country.Baby girls are mutilated so that they don`t delve into prostitution and pregnant women being deprived of their clitoris due to the believe that if the head of the baby touches the clitoris during delivery there would be a still birth.A victim shared how sex has become her worst night mare and she is almost loosing her marriage.
The women of America were not left out.In an event organized by the women of the Harlem community here in New York,women aired out their agony in the face of intimate partner violence and rape.One of the speakers Stephanie Mcgraw kept reiterating that the problem is more complex than we can imagine and is worst when the torture is not physical but emotional"A broken heart is worst than a broken bone" she said while encouraging women to look for love inside of themselves ,before searching for someone to love.The different speakers narrated their journeys from torture to healing and advocacy.In most cases pain gave birth to purpose;saving others from the dungeons of torture.
Violence against women, a multi- faced monster that knows no discrimination in race or class.There is no vaccine or antidote to it.It suffices to be a woman and you are at high risk of being caught in it`s trap. Of all the ailments and problems plaguing the universe there is none as complex.In. 1999, former UN secretary general described it as "....perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. And it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development, and peace.”
On Friday March 15 the CSW was rounded up with the various nations agreeing to support grassroots women organizations in their fight to empower women,engage more in using the internet and social media to empower women, engaging men and boys to works towards gender sensitive communities,increase the fight to end trafficking of girls and women.