I have been wondering a lot lately, on the issue, of why critical issues affecting women and children, are not (in my opinion) being addressed. May 7 2008, the www.feminstpeacenetwork.com reported that the medias use of passive voice on decribing gender-motivated violence is evident and the only way to end gendered violence, is to report the facts. I think too often, we don’t report the facts clearly. When I worked in Journalism, because I like to be analytical – my Manager told me that I needed to change my writing style more, to suit the ‘fluffy’ journalism…they wanted, that made people laugh. I, have since left the organisation…but, I enjoy keeping up-to-date with current world issues.
The United Nations in their focus on addressing violence against women, are currently calling for applications for the 13th grant cycle (2008) from Government Authorities, and Women’s and Community based organisations. The www.sayNotoviolence.org is a global internet-based advocacy initiative by UNIFEM, (the United Nations Development Fund for Women), and it will run until 25 November 2008. We have in NZ, ‘no to violence campaigns’ But, are real issues being addressed? I don’t think they are! This same point was raised, in an article I read recently, ‘Get Rid Of the Ministry Of Women’s Affairs’ NZ (April 13, 2008), www.uthink.co.nz/politics, and I’d have to agree with the opinion of the feminist writer. She raises the questions, what is the point of the Ministry for Women’s Affairs? Do they actually do anything at all? She believes that fundamentally, there should be women in Government dedicated to continuing the legacy of Women’s Liberation. I would have to agree with her, as I know (from speaking to someone involved in Government Public Policy) that Public Policy changes for Civil Unions – to become Marriage, are furtively on the agenda currently. If you place Political Leaders in Government with a passion for legislative changes (in certain areas), then they will push it through (like ‘Road Runner’), full-steam ahead!!! Sometimes without an ‘insiders’ guide/look, in a Direct Democracy – its a matter of waiting untill it happens.
The author also states that we needed a Women’s Ministry when Women were struggling, and there’s still a FIGHT today…..that the WMA is not even involved in. I wonder, WHY???? Such as, where do they stand on funding for Women’s Refuges? Or our appalling record of domestic violence against women? I thinks its surprising that the WMA are ‘invisible’ on some issues…..why did we not hear from them during the Police Rape Case? You’d think that, this would be of interest to them.
Last year, I read a Law Report – into VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, commissed by the WMA. This Report outlined current inadequacies in the treatment of battered women by the Courts, and Government Agencies and coupled with amendments to the laws designed to protect women and children. Which research has shown….has not effectively done so…..CHANGE IS NEEDED! The Report stated serious inadequacies in how the Domestic Violence Act is implemented by the Judiciary and listed 47 recommendations for improvement. Once again, I’m astonished, that in reviewing these recommendations (out of interest), alarmingly they have NOT been implemented. No wonder why the statistics of violence against women has NOT perceptibly declined. So, why Is the Ministry of Women’s Affairs remaining silent, on the Report they Commissioned? I never read anything in the News, from a MWA Spokesperson – commenting on the long-awaited Report. Why? Why do they not push through change? If we can amend many Acts, to accommodate Civil Unions….then why – can we not amend the Domestic Violence Act and Care of Children Act, which is critical?
Sometimes public policy changes seem protracted in nature, in the ‘real’ concerns that face the future of our Country. The Ministry Statements and Speeches (March 2008) – NZ Foreign Affairs, was interesting reading. On a different Report concerning violence against women, its causes and consequences. The Ministry confirms that violence against women, is the most serious, wide-spread violations of human rights around the world and it breeds a culture of silence….it is the duty (they state), of the council to break that silence. Which again, I contemplate, why?…..’okay, you say you focus on international effort to promote and eradicate violence against women and that NZ welcomes International Reports which indicate how the state can respond to eliminating this violence. But when your own Women’s Ministry, Commissions a Report, you state nothing on their findings. You also state that this is urgent, and that we can build effective policies and practices to prevent and eliminate violence. But, then why are the 47 recommendations, not implemented? It feels to me….that change is not really on the agenda. Is marriage for gays/lesbians, more important than protection for women and children?, if I dare ask.
For political correctness (I believe), we acknowledge international UN focus on women’s rights….but we remain passive….when it really counts. When, the facts are clear before us….like the News Media – we have a passive voice and remain silent. Maybe if we had an insiders view to the horrific crimes affecting women….we’d be more passionate about pushing for change. Its interesting how sometimes….its only in our real ‘visual’ knowledge of an issue, that we are sparked to see change, that moves beyond the sake, of it being – FOR POLITICAL CORRECTNESS.