Home News Women in Myanmar join ’16 days of activism’ against gender-based violence

Women in Myanmar join ’16 days of activism’ against gender-based violence

The campaign aims to raise awareness on violence against women, while the ribbon is a sign of protest against attacks on women

Catholic women in Myanmar joined the “16 days of activism against gender-based violence” campaign that was launched on November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The campaign, which uses a white ribbon as its symbol, aims to raise awareness on violence against women, while the ribbon is a sign of protest against attacks on women.

In Myanmar, the 16-day White Ribbon Campaign has been held annually in various forms by various women’s activists since 2011.

Among those who joined this year’s activities, which were initiated by the Karen Women Organization (KWO), were nuns from various religious organizations.

In a statement released on November 25, the women’s group noted that “sexual assaults, rape and domestic violence are the most common and serious forms of violence” that women face in Myanmar.

The group said domestic violence is “a special kind of violence” and usually involves the husband using violence to control the wife.

“It is often kept as a secret, kept quietly behind the walls of the home,” read the Karen women’s statement. The group said “a lot of women live in fear of their husbands.”

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“We want all forms of violence against women to stop now,” said the group. “And we want everyone to have the courage to speak out for justice.”

Pauline Shwe, a widow from the city of Pathein, shared her experience of domestic violence, saying that her family life “collapsed” and her children “got mental wounds.”

She said she even attempted to take her own life if not for a women’s group that reached out to her. “May the cries of women be heard more and more,” she said.

Last month, Myanmar’s Ministry of Women, Youth and Child Affairs and the Ministry of Human Rights released a joint statement condemning the rape and torture of ethnic women by government troops.

Sister Beatrice Maw of the Congregation of Reparation thanked the women of Myanmar for the campaign, describing it as a “precious mission because it is one of the many things Jesus did in his earthly life.”

The nun expressed hope that all women “may have a future without any form of violence so that they can freely handle their lives and give life to the world with their whole being as Mary did in the saving mission.”

Sister Patricia Mok of the Congregation of the Sister of St. Francis Xavier in Myanmar stressed the importance of cultivating “respect, sympathy, and justice” in men in the campaign against attacks on women.

“It is necessary for men to be polite, mature, and humane,” said the nun.

Early this year, the United Nations warned that women in detention in Myanmar have been experiencing sexual harassment and violence.

There were also concerns that the ongoing crisis in the country could disrupt essential services, including safe pregnancy and childbirth and could have “serious, even life-threatening implications,” especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

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