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UN-DPI/NGO Youth Briefing - Dated: 25 March 2013
"Raising and Empowering Youth to Break the Cycle of Violence Against Women and Children”
"Marginalization of the youth in the society has increased in recent years..."
Moderator: Gina Leow
Panelists: Quentin Walcott (Connect NYC), Brigitte Watson (Legal Momentum), Gina Leow, Katrina Martinez, Tevia Clarke, Kamila Jacob and Maria-Luisa Chavez, Chief, UN-DPI-NGO Relations.
Guest: UN SG’s Envoy on Youth Ahmed Alhendawi
Erman Hakan SENER
2nd Youth Representative of The Light Millennium to the UN-DPI/NGO.
Maria-Luisa Chavez, Chief of the UN DPI/NGo Relations, highlighted the importance of the youth representatives in the DPI/NGO structure. It is decided to have at least one youth-led briefing in each briefing season.
Ahmed Alhendawi is the first-ever UN SG’s Envoy on Youth. He pointed out that marginalization of the youth in the society has increased in recent years. He continued introducing his responsibilities as the Envoy on Youth and gave some statistics related to the main theme of the briefing. The most striking data was that 65% of the women who suffer from violence is younger than the age 16. He mentioned that empowering youth organizations and using non-formal education on this topic would make us able to address this issue. He finilized his speech emphasizing the aim of the Envoy on Youth which is improving communication and harmony between the UN and the youth by explaining what the UN does on youth issues and informing the UN body about what youth expects from the UN. He is now working on the writing the development agenda of the next 15 years.
Gina Leow (moderator) gives floor to Katrina Martinez.
Katrina Martinez explained the importance of the theme and went over the program of the briefing. She underlined the importance of media by mentioning that media plays a crucial role in the solution of the gender-motivated violence problem because it can raise awareness while filtering the messages given to the public that can result in spread of violence.
Quentin Walcott told that child abuse and domestic violence usually occur together. He continued describing the goals and work of Connect NYC. The NGO works with families and social workers to protect the rights of women and the children in NYC, which consists of a mainly international community. 20% of domestic violence is not reported. 80% of the victims use the system to change their condition. Most people do not want to go to the police to solve domestic violence issues but to faith organizations (church, mosque, synagogues, etc.). Even though some men believes that it was not appropriate to abuse women and children, they could not speak up because of the societal pressure put on them by other men in their environment. Connect NYC empowers and supports children and women by training them. They are also working with adult men and educate them on manhood, fatherhood, sexism and racism. Mr. Walcott finalized his speech by mentioning that community violence and domestic violence have connections as well.
Brigitte Watson began her speech describing her NGO. Legal Momentum advocates girls and women in this issue on the basis of their legal rights. They work at courts, in public education, and on innovative policy making. They have
25 March 2013
3 core programs addressing this issue: NJP Project (educating judges and people in the courts), Employment and Housing Rights (safe housing, protecting women from losing their jobs and from stalking), Equality Works (working with employees, contractors to assist them making their work environments free of violence and abusing). To counter teen-dated abuse, Legal Momentum has cooperated with many youth organizations to work in schools to clarify what is gender-motivated violence, sexual abuse, etc. Legal Momentum gives utmost importance to public policy advocacy.
This part took place for the first time in a briefing. Kamila Jacob and Tevia Clarke asked the audience around 20 yes/no questions and if the audience decided if their answer was ‘yes’ they stood up, otherwise they remain seated. The audience and the panelists observed their fellow colleagues and the main trends in answers in relation to people’s races, ethnicities, and genders.
Question & Answer:
1) Isn’t there a strong relation between inequality in our society and the violence against women? How do you counter the limitations of today’s system?
Brigitte Watson: We acknowledge these limitations but do not see them as obstacles. We believe, with our partners, that we can convince people to take action. Only strong partnerships can help us NGOs achieve success.
Quentin Walcott: There is a misconception between poverty and domestic violence. Domestic violence exists regardless of financial condition.
25 March 2013
2) Question on youth homelessness.
3) Question/comments on raising awareness in less developed countries. Brigitte Watson: Gave an example from the US from 20-30 years ago. The advocacy for women’s rights and discussions on domestic violence began in hair salons. She suggested to start with where the women are in less developed countries where women cannot publicly stand up for their rights.
Quentin Walcott: Working with boys is very important in a situation when you are a woman but cannot stand up for violation of your rights.
4) Is social media an effective tool to raise consciousness and spread anti- violence campaigns?
Quentin Walcott: Social media has pros and cons but in NYC, social media is being used effectively to encourage people to take action but there has to be lot of face-to-face campaigns. However, use of social media cannot be effective alone.
Brigitte Watson: We are new to social media but we learn fast. We urge women to talk to us through social media. Some high school students that we worked with created their own school-wide web where girls can discuss violence issues. Tevia Clarke: Social media is very important for anti-violence culture to spread and because of this youth needs to be able to use it effectively.
This report is written by the 2nd Youth Representative of the Light Millenium, Erman Hakan Sener on 25 March 2013.
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