|Actions against domestic violence, in a perspective of peace, together with men and women, were debated in Porto Alegre|
by Nilza Scotti (public relations advisor)
edition: Vera Vieira
Representatives of various men’s and women’s organizations were gathered during two days, in Porto Alegre, debating actions for combating violence against women, under the perspective of peace. On June 9 and 10, the Brazilian Peace Women Association, the Ponto Final na Violência contra as Mulheres e Meninas (Ending Violence Against Women and Girls) Campaign, Rede Feminista de Saúde, Rede Mulher de Educação held the workshop ‘Redefining Peace – Domestic Violence: construction of a feminist popular education methodology specific for working with women and men’, with the support of Casa de Cultura Mario Quintana, Memorial do Rio Grande do Sul, and State secretariats of Culture and Public Policies for Women, of the Rio Grande do Sul State Government.
In parallel, on June 9, there was the opening of the Exhibition 1000 Peacewomen Across the Globe and launching of the book Brazilian Peace Warriors, in the Rio Grande do Sul Memorial, at Alfândega Square, in the center of the State capital. Visitation of the photographic display will continue until July 9. After the opening of the display, the president of the Brazilian Peace Women Association and human and women’s rights activist since 1945, Clara Charf, and judge Maria Berenice Dias, one of the Brazilian women and the only native of Rio Grande do Sul nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, autographed the book Brazilian Peace Warriors.
ADVANCES STILL AREN'T ENOUGH
“In the past few years, many advances have been achieved, especially with the Maria da Penha Law, and women are more frequently reporting when there is domestic violence, but still not enough”, said Clara Charf. Maria Berenice Dias honored Clara with part of the lyrics of the Rio Grande do Sul State anthem, “…may your achievements serve as an example to the entire Earth”. She added that peace in the world will come through the hands of women. The executive secretary of Rede Feminista de Saúde, entity that coordinates the Ponto Final Campaign, Telia Negrão, also pointed out the advances in the struggle for peace. She also said that the partnerships and actions developed by the Campaign and by the Brazilian Peace Women Association contributed to the construction of a more democratic society, free of violence against women.
Roberto Lorea, Domestic Violence Court Judge, complimented the contribution of the feminist movement and of women’s organizations in the fight against domestic violence, besides appreciating the initiative for construction of a specific methodology for working with women and men. The State Secretariat of Public Policies for Women, Márcia Santana, pointed out the initiative of the Exhibition, which focuses on the recognition of the struggle and work of women that contribute to the conquering of rights and to the construction of public policies for women”.
The first lady of the State, Sandra Genro, was also presented at the event, representing Governor Tarso Genro before the event organizers. The director of the Rio Grande do Sul Memorial, Simone Monteiro, said that it was an honor for the Memorial to receive an exhibition that values women who fight peace and against domestic violence.
The local leaderships who filled the auditorium, listened carefully to the opening panel speakers at the exhibition entitled “Women and Men against Domestic Violence and for Peace”, which was coordinated by Vera Vieira, executive director of the Brazilian Peace Women Association.
1000 PEACEWOMEN ACROSS THE GLOBE
There are one thousand feminine faces from 150 countries that became icons in the fight for peace, human safety and justice and that were nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize by the association Peace Women Across the Globe, with the support of Unesco. “These women represent the battles against violence and discrimination, against oppression and misery, in several spaces and fronts”, pointed out the president of the Peace Women Association, Clara Charf.
The 2005 Nobel Prize Committee did not award the group of women, but the international articulation which led to the selection of the one thousand names mobilized different fields of society, revealing the strength and diversity of the nominees, in spite of the multiple barriers encountered throughout their lives.
WORKSHOP DEBATED THE CONCEPT OF PEACE
The impact of the enhanced concept of peace in people’s daily life was the center of the debates of the two days of the workshop that pointed out, among its proposals, working jointly actions for reporting and the national campaigns contrary to violence against women, by the Campaigns Ponto Final na Violência contra as Mulheres e Meninas (Ending Violence Against Women and Girls), Lenço Branco (White Handkerchief) and the Campaign Against Domestic Violence and for Peace.
In order to deepen the enhanced concept of peace, Vera Vieira coordinated the beginning of the workshop with a dynamic for reflection on the concept that each participant had of the word peace. To Vera, “the written sentences demonstrated the full understanding that peace goes beyond opposition to war, meaning that it is something exercised in daily life”.
Afterwards, Clara Charf gave a detailed presentation on the background of UN Resolution 1325, as well as on the forms of use that have been employed by the women’s movement in the entire world, which offers a new vision for activities in favor of gender equality, mainly in works comprising both sexes. Then there was a rich debate on the matter. “What is peace?”, questioned Clara Charf, adding that, “Peace is when a woman, unemployed, without resources, fights to raise and educate her children. It’s when female and male workers fight for better wages and work conditions. It is not only a fight against great wars, but rather a daily fight. The fight for life. It is every gesture and action that women execute to defend a cause in their day-to-day life”, she said.
AN END TO VIOLENCE
Journalist and human rights activist Telia Negrão emphasized the need to empower women and to have men and all of society committed to facing and eliminating the phenomenon of domestic violence against women. “This workshop – conclusion of the initial phase of the Ponto Final Campaign – stimulates the participation and construction of knowledge and practices on domestic violence and violence against women and girls”, she mentioned. Telia said that the focus of the Campaign’s work is on the defense of the promotion of women’s human rights, which are fundamental for sustainable social change. “Violence against women is a structural problem in our society and reflects the unequal balance of power between men and women, which is present in the public and private spheres”. She added that there are many forms of violence against women and that they take on dimensions and characteristics according to the political, economic, social and cultural context.
According to psychologist and secretary of Rede Feminista de Saúde, Maria Luísa Pereira de Oliveira, the data on domestic violence is still alarming (41.532 women were victims of homicides in the country, during the period from 1997 to 2007), in spite of the advances in the struggle against this phenomenon, verified during the past few years. Maria Luísa also points out that the goal of the Ponto Final Campaign is to end society’s acceptance of any and all forms of domestic violence. “The Campaign works on the prevention and eradication, involving men and women, changing awareness, questioning cultural patterns in the search for new postures”.
Working masculinity and violence with a focus on the strategy for prevention was one of the highlights pointed out by Marcos Nascimento, of the Promundo Institute, during the workshop ‘Redefining Peace – Domestic Violence: construction of a feminist popular education methodology for working with women and men’. “We need to adopt strategies to face violence among young and adult men with activities in schools and the Lenço Branco (White Handkerchief) Campaign, which acts for the end of violence against women in the entire country, with the involvement of men”, said Nascimento. The Campaign is developed in various States and, in Rio Grande do Sul, is coordinated by Themis - Assessoria Jurídica e Estudos de Gênero (Legal Advisory and Gender Studies).
Carolina Caveira, of Rede Mulher de Educação, dealt with gender relations and inequalities in professional categories, in the social and political areas and between men and men, men and women and women and women. Carolina argued that, in a capitalist and patriarchal society, sexism and racism reinforce inequality and place women in an inferior situation.
Afterwards, still this year, the workshop and the exhibition will take place in Salvador and Rio Branco, according to Vera Vieira, “to move these actions forward, the Peace Women Association counted on the important national partnership of entities, which representatives played an important role in the first step: in three work sessions with specialists from these organizations, the content of the Feminist Popular Education Booklet – “Women and Men against Domestic Violence and for Peace” was discussed. It is an instrument that serves as a basis for the construction of a specific methodology for working with both sexes. It was a rich process of deepening of the methodology and the discussions, with the participation of Beatriz Cannabrava and Maria José Lopes Souza (Rede Mulher de Educação), Silvani Arruda (Promundo Institute), Amelinha Teles (São Paulo Women’s Union) and Sonia Nascimento (Geledés – Black Women’s Institute). On behalf of the Peace Women Association, Clara Charf and Vera Vieira participated, together with Walkíria Lobo Ferraz, who was in charge of the systematization of the sessions. After that, in each region, together with representatives of local partners, there is a methodological adjustment, taking into account the specific reality.
The first part of this Booklet, entitled Basic Concepts, focuses on UN Resolution 1325, which enhances the concept of peace to beyond the opposition to war, referencing actions that take place in daily life, seeking to also deepen the understanding on the origin and the challenges of violence against women. The second part, entitled To read, reflect and practice presents suggestions for feminist popular education dynamics and texts, with spaces for workshop participants to exercise the matters discussed, as well as contribute with local practices, in a dialogical process of collective creation.
It is also worth mentioning the creation of two other support materials – a folder and a poster – created by journalist Fernanda Pompeu and graphic designer Angela Mattos, whose visual and written creativity will very much contribute to the approach of such a challenging matter.
At the end of the process, there will be a national seminar, in the city of São Paulo, for consensus on the general systematization with the contribution of the collective construction in three different Brazilian regions (South, Northeast and North), of which the main leaders will participate. Afterwards, a publication will be launched to support future activities, besides a video documentary. Clara and Vera are certain that “women and men will roll up their sleeves and pick up tools to together build this methodological proposal, broadening horizons in the fight against domestic violence, in search for a world of peace”. They take the opportunity to give special thanks to all women and men, to the partner entities, to the supporting organization – Peace Women around the World (Switzerland), EED (Germany) and Avina Foundation – as well as to sponsor Petrobras.