“Violence against women - it's time to talk about it and take action”
The 2018 human rights campaign of the United Evangelical Mission (UEM), "Calling out violence against women - Enforcing women's rights". was officially launched yesterday by Praeses Manfred Rekowski (Evangelical Church in the Rhineland) at the Mission House in Wuppertal-Barmen. The campaign, entitled "Don’t force me" (2 Samuel 13:12), was introduced by Dr Jochen Motte, UEM board member and human rights expert, and Irene Girsang, officer for the interregional women's programmes of the UEM.
Girsang offered some insight into her work with women victims of violence in the African and Asian countries where the UEM operates. In her experience, projects training women to become small business owners have proven to be effective. Aid project participants will often report to Girsang that their husbands beat them less since they started earning money themselves. The UEM also supports women who were once victims of rape and now do preventive work assisting other victims with medical help or legal advice.
Anja Vollendorf, a member of the ecclesiastical council of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, reported on sexual violence against women by armed militias in the Kivu area of eastern Congo. “Many women there are not aware of their rights, and therefore don’t know when these have been violated. In addition, these countries lack structures like a functioning judiciary to punish the perpetrators", she said.
Maria-Teresa Amarante, an officer for political refugees with the Bergisches Land Amnesty International, reported on the German situation, discussing independent asylum counselling for women who flee to Germany to escape persecution because of their gender. The Amnesty International pilot project is being supported by the UEM as part of a collaboration.
Praeses Rekowski emphasized that it is important to the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland to address the issue of the violation of sexual self-determination. As a sponsor of the UEM’s human rights activities, he shared how impressed he was by the presentation of the UEM projects to strengthen women's rights and by the UEM’s collaboration with Amnesty International.
The current Human Rights Day campaign on 10 December seeks to raise awareness in churches and congregations of women's rights, while at the same time encouraging donations to projects that combat violence against women.
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