Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New York Day 3 Dana

Our first day of going to sessions was amazing. We started off the day by going to a morning brief, where we were reminded about the Beijing Platform for Actions tenants, CEDAW, and CSW, which was very helpful in setting up the day for us. The first session I went to was a parallel event sponsored by France that was all about sex education. We were all given handouts that France gives to new parliament members - they said congratulations on being elected: here is what young people want. The pamphlet was all about how the government needs to empower youth to make their own choices about their sexuality - it isn't the government's responsibility to tell kids not to have sex, but it is their responsibility to provide youth with the information that they need. The panel stressed this even more, and my favorite quote was "silence on sex kills." There was so much information that I can include in my updated paper. I was so heartened by the fact that France was taking steps to provide young people with what they need.

The next event I went to was on humanitarian crises and the mental health effects that occur as a result, especially in regards to women. Two speakers, one from Haiti and one from Syria, spoke about the importance of providing female survivors of trauma with the resources that they need - a critical part of being able to rebuild a society. The Syrian speaker also had a really interesting idea: train women to become religious leaders (since the men are dead or missing) and have them provide support and mentorship to women in conflict zones. Since many women experience sexual violence and are ashamed about what happened, being counseled by a female religious leader to tell them it wasn't their fault could help stem the circle of victim blaming. I found this so fascinating because I have always seen religion as a possible hindrance to recovering from sexual violence, not as a benefit. Her talk really changed my mind.

The networking event we went to last night was also great - I was able to talk to so many great people, including one of the youth panelists. It was also wonderful to see Ruchira Gupta win an achievement award - she definitely deserved it. I'm so excited for my next day in New York!


  1. I wonder if she meant non-denominational religion? Like the one I attend, Unitarian Universalists....Hmmmm.

  2. I'm so glad to hear you are getting great information on your research topic from an international perspective. The saddest thoughts and stories for me are for women in combat zones, and for mothers of young girls enslaved in trafficking.
    Tomorrow is your big presentation day. I know you'll all do great!