By Empowering Women in Decision-Making
and Eliminating Poverty

 

Overview

Millenium Development Goals

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of basic human psychology, personal safety is one of the most basic needs. According to the United Nations , “Violence affects the lives of millions of women worldwide, in all socio-economic and educational classes. It cuts across cultural and religious barriers, impeding the right of women to participate fully in society” (http://www.un.org/rights/dpi1772e.htm). Women also must deal with the aftermath of violence. It affects them, but it also affects their children and their families. At the International Convocation of UU Women, preventing violence was one of the three highest priorities of our action planning process in which attendees identified the need to move from a culture of violence to a culture of peace.

Family violence is often cloaked because we are acculturated to keep our family problems secret, in order to protect and shield family members. However, this masks violence which most frequently impacts women and children. We have very little discussion or awareness of this problem in our UU congregations despite the fact that there have been murders within our very own congregations. In December 2007, two UU women leaders, Jennifer Davis and Andrea Pisanello, and their children, Olivia and Magnus, were murdered by Jennifer’s former husband, a known abuser, and about whom she had made repeated requests for protection to Clear Water authorities.

The shooting deaths in the UU Church of Knoxville TN got more attention in the press, but what may not be known is that the shooter who was not a Unitarian, had attended UU functions and come to know the church through his former wife who was a Unitarian and a member of the Knoxville Church and who had also reported that her husband was violent. She reported that she was afraid of him and his violence. When he could no longer take out his violent tendencies on her, he took them to her church.

“Justice and peace. Justice concerns the fair ordering of human relationships, including social and political relationships. War signals the breakdown of fairly ordered human relations; it is inherently unjust. Peace is an attribute of relationship; it is a process, not a stagnant state. Peace emerges as our social and political institutions become more cooperative and more just. Lasting peace rests on just relationships.” (from the Draft Statement of Conscience on Peacemaking). Subscribe to the Peacemaking-Network Email List.

CEDAW

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

…because Women’s Rights are Human Rights

ICUUW is a member of the CEDAW Task Force a project of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. ICUUW is working on outreach to our members and all Unitarian Universalists. We hope that by educating our members on the important
of ratifying this treaty they can become effective advocates of our legislators in the Senate where it must pass with a two-thirds majority. The treaty would be a giant step forward for our country by ensuring women equal protection under the law.
For more information…

Initiatives Olga Flores Hunger Strike in Bolivia

We have been working with Olga Flores, a UU in Bolivia who attended the International Convocation in Houston earlier this year, to help in her struggle to get the Bolivian government to release records about her brother, Carlos Bedregal Flores, and others who were taken by the military dictatorships which rules Bolivia in the 1980s and earlier. This problem of “the disappeared” exists in many countries in Latin America. Olga and her compatriots have been working for years and had exhausted all legal remedies in Bolivia when they began their hunger strike in late April. The hunger strike garnered international support from the ICUUW online community and was instrumental in the Bolivia government passing a resolution requiring the military to open its archives to the family members of the disappeared and to meet with those families to answer their questions.

For further background and details on Olga Flores…

Peacemaking

On a global level preventing violence includes promoting a culture of peace. Peacemaking was selected by the 2006 General Assembly (GA) as  the Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) for 2006-2010. This Statement of Conscience, rejects war as inconsistent with our theological principles and religious values, with the exceptions of self-defense and the use of force for humanitarian purposes.

Resources

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Unitarian Universalists for Just Economic Community

CodePink

Getting Organized

Background Reading

Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Crisis: From Advocacy to Action —

Kathleen Cravero, Assistant Administrator and Director, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, UNDP

 

Summary of Global Sisters Plans

  • Beginning the Conversation
    • Define the problem
    • What language do we need to define and address the issue?
  • Action steps articulated so far:
    • Organize a congregational discussion group to develop language and understanding
    • Network to expand the conversation…
      • In your community
      • In your UU District
  • Anti-Violence Education
    • Organize non-violent communications workshops in your congregation or community
    • Identify and promote other programs that work
    • Explore adapting non-violent aspects of OWL for school use,  interfaith use, and use within the broader community
  • Advocacy
    • Organize to reduce violence in primetime TV
      • Network
    • Organize to monitor and impact local news
    • Create a safe haven congregation
      • Promote global sex education
      • Connect your congregation with UUSC efforts in Darfur
  • Lobby to elect women