KOTA KINABALU – Good Shepherd Services Malaysia has organised a 16-day campaign against violence against women and children recently. An annual event, it begins on Nov 25 (International Day against Violence against Women) and culminates on Dec 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
Pope Francis has often spoken out against violence towards women in his messages, and on 7 February 2015, at a meeting on women’s issues hosted by the Vatican Council for Culture, he condemned female mutilation and domestic violence against women, calling them degradations that had to be combated.o
The Church’s role in defending the rights of women is endorsed at the recently concluded Synod of Bishops on the Family 2015. Section 27 on “Women” of the Synod’s Final Report was emphatically approved and adopted by a resounding vote of 251 to 9.
Excerpts from the Synod’s Final Report on Women states that ….
“…. It remains true, however, that the status of women in the world is subject to large differences arising primarily from socio-cultural factors. The dignity of women needs to be defended and promoted. It is not simply a problem of resources, but of a different cultural perspective, as highlighted by the plight of women in many emerging countries. In many contexts, still, being a woman provokes discrimination: The gift of motherhood is penalized rather than valued.”
“….. We shouldn’t forget the growing phenomena of violence in which women are victims within the family. …. The emancipation of women requires a rethinking of the tasks of spouses in their reciprocity and a shared responsibility in family life.”
“…. A greater appreciation of their responsibilities within the Church can contribute to the social recognition of the role of women: their involvement in decision-making, their participation in the government of some institutions, and their involvement in the formation of ordained ministers.”
Various initiatives have been organised to create awareness and to spread the message in the three different states in Malaysia where Good Shepherd Services (GSS) has a presence.
This year in Sabah, GSS is also raising the awareness on Sexual Harassment, which is defined as any unwelcome and unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, and a violation of women’s human rights.
The Training-of-Trainers workshop held on 26 October 2015 at the Youth Prep Centre, Alamesra in Kota Kinabalu was to promote the 16 Days of Activism campaign and to encourage the participants, comprising the staff and volunteers of GSS, working adults and University students to carry out the campaign in their various organisations.
Following the training workshop, the participants drew up a schedule of activities for the campaign “ORANGE THE WORLD: Say NO to Violence Against Women and Children” to be conducted in their communities and organisations.
The campaign has reached the government’s Women’s Shelter, College youths, Montfort Training Centre, University Malaysia Sabah, Jabatan Tanah & Ukur & Kolej Yayasan Sabah, St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, Keningau, St Mary Cathedral, Sandakan, St Joseph Catholic Church Kiulu, Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu, Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia,, ASCOT Academy and others.