COMMEMORATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
NEWS FROM ALL INDIA COUNCIL OF CHRISTIAN WOMEN
As the world commemorated International Women’s Day All India Council of Christian Women the women’s wing of National Council of Churches in India launched the campaign 365 Days Zero Tolerance To Gender Based Violence: Make it Happen Now!!! IWD was also commemorated in different churches all over India.
The Executive Committee members of AICCW along with women leaders from Diocese of Nagpur, Church of North India visited different police stations in the city of Nagpur to honor the women police for the contributions. “This is the first time in my life someone is honoring me on International Women’s Day. Such event has never happened in any Police station in Nagpur.” opined Shefali Police woman serving in Sadar Police station Nagpur. Certificates of appreciation, trophies were distributed to police women in different police stations in Nagpur. “In our country where women are regarded as a burden and suffer discrimination and violence from womb to death it is not easy for a woman in India to be a police woman. Yet there are women who dare to risk their lives and overcome all challenges to become police women. They deserved to be honored” states Moumita Biswas Executive Secretary of AICCW.
Dr Saramma Vargehese – President of AICCW states “India has become the fourth most dangerous country in the world for a woman to live in. Every 20 minutes a woman is raped in India. Many of our streets are not safe for women and girls even to walk. It is in this context of growing violence in India we also need support of police to maintain law and order. Hence we need the support of police also to promote this campaign”
“We request you also to make our Police stations more women friendly where women and girls can come without fear of being ignored or abused when they come to file complaints” stated Neerja Prashad –Treasurer of AICCW while handing over the campaign poster to Police officer in Sadar Police Station in Nagpur.
In Nagpur the All Saints Cathedral-Church of North India promoted the White Ribbon Campaign – (Men against Violence on Women). Mr Kasta Dip the Director of India Peace Center (an autonomous body of NCCI) while promoting the campaign in the Church gave a prophetic cry from the pulpit “We Indian men need to deconstruct our own STEREO TYPED MASCULINITY. On IWD every man should grapple to overcome such stereo typed masculinity which prompts us to discriminate our women and perpetuate gender based violence in our homes, work place or society. We men should adopt the masculinity of Jesus Christ.”In Kandukur village Prakasham District Andhra Pradesh state Telegu Baptist Women’s Convention (TBWC) invited 300 women leaders lay and ordained 100 male pastors as well as government officials, political leaders, academicians and social activities to commemorate IWD. According to Rev.Dr.Mrs.P.Syamala Sukumar President TBWC “We invited male pastors to listen to stories of hope and agony of women and promote women in decision making processes in the church as well as in society. In Indian context women’s empowerment cannot solve the problem of gender based violence; men also need to be empowered.” In January 2015 TBWC ordained 60 women as pastors in Ongole Andhra Pradesh to promote ‘Discipleship of Equals’. The initiative was taken by Rev.Dr.Mrs.P.Syamala Sukumar who is also a member of AICCW Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee members of All India Council of Christian Women met on 7th-8th March and critiqued the ban of documentary film India’s Daughter by government of India based on Jyothi Singh or Nirbhaya Delhi gang rape incident produced by Leslee Udwin. According to Moumita Biswas “It is heart breaking to see the plight of our daughters in India. Such violence is not just happening in our backyard but in our front yard even in our own homes by our own kith and kin. A prophetic church should not remain silent.”
In this context of brutal violence it is the sacred duty of the churches in India to engage in advocacy, empower, educate not only women but men also to puncture this culture of gender based violence. AICCW thus invites member Churches and partners to join in the campaign 365 Days Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence: Make is Happen Now!!!