The United Nations has declared 12 August 2010 to 11 August 2011 as: The UN Year of Youth. “Our Year. Our Voice.”
The Steering Group of the International Anglican Youth Network (IAYN) wishes to take part in this UN Year of Youth by inviting young Anglicans to begin an in-depth study of a topic addressed by several Networks of the Anglican Communion, numerous Lambeth Conferences and UN Resolutions: ending violence against young women and girls.
Every Provincial Youth Office of the Anglican Communion is encouraged to develop a way to lead young people in their dioceses in this conversation. Other people may be invited to have similar conversations apart from the young people.
Each diocese would be asked to assist gatherings of young people to participate in these conversations and to provide a brief report on their discussions and actions. The report would be referred to the Provincial Youth Office who in turn would send it to the Reverend Douglas Fenton at email@example.com by 30 June 2011.
The reports will be posted to the IAYN page, on the Anglican Communion web site, the United Nations Year of Youth web page, and also presented to the next Provincial Youth Officers’ gathering, Hong Kong, August 2011.
We have chosen this topic, ending violence against young women and girls, for the coming year as it is an issue that affects everyone, especially young people. It builds on what the IAYN has done in the past and connects with the concerns of several other Networks.
In baptism God’s love is declared for each person. Our baptism reminds us of God’s desire for us to be reconciled to God and each other. God calls us to love our neighbour as ourself, therefore we must work for justice, freedom and peace for everyone, including young women and girls. We are called to respect the dignity of every human being. Ending violence is part of our baptismal call; our Christian faith.
Eradication of Gender Violence – Ending violence against Young Women and Girls
In all societies women are subjected to emotional, physical, sexual and psychological violence regardless of wealth, class or culture. The focus of this project is to understand how we can end violence against young women and girls.
By following the steps provided we can help young people to understand why and how violence is committed against young women and girls. We can also help young people to think about what the Bible and our Anglican tradition says about this violence and how to end it.
The Causes of Violence against Young Women and Girls
There are many causes of violence against young women and girls. All of these causes are created by a variety of factors including society, culture, legal systems and ignorance.
Young women and girls are sometimes taught roles that are submissive to or beneath men. These roles limit their human dignity.
Here are some other examples of causes:
Poverty limits opportunities for young women and girls in work, health, education, and in their ability to make choices for themselves.
Young women and girls can often be denied equal opportunity to attend school. This is a form of violence used to control them and reinforce their lower status.
Many women cannot protect themselves against HIV/AIDS. They cannot insist on faithfulness from their partner. They cannot refuse to have sex or demand the use of protection. They often lack power or economic status to remove themselves from situations where they are at a high risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS.
Young women and girls are prevented from making decisions about their own sexual identity and activity.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Physical violence and sexual abuse are often caused by and a consequence of the abuse of alcohol and drugs.
War and Conflict
Psychological violence is produced by war and conflict. In these situations young women and girls are often the target of sexual violence. Rape is deliberately used as a weapon in war.
You may think of other causes present in your cultural context which you may choose to address as well.
Reflection and Action
A guide to help you think about and act to end violence
This process is offered as a way for young people to look at the issue of violence towards young women and girls in a way that helps them explore the causes of this violence, what the Christian faith has to say about it, and to find ways of taking action to stop it.
This process can be done over five separate meetings as part of an ongoing youth programme. These meetings can be over several weeks or months. They can also be used at a weekend retreat or camp.
There are five steps to this process:
After you have completed these five steps, you can start again. Tell the stories of your actions and from that find a new Key Question. In this way we grow in our faith and join God in God’s mission.The Process
There may be other rules the group wishes to add.
To prepare for the next session, briefly introduce the table, “Points of View”on page 11. It will be used to discuss your Key Question the next time the group meets. Assign one point of view to each group member i.e. History, Geography, Social, Economic, Culture or Religion. Make sure that more than one point of view will be looked at. Invite them to think about and research the point of view they have been assigned for the next session.
In this session you are being asked to move from your experience and to find more detailed information about your Key Question. You might want to invite someone who is knowledgeable about one or more of these points of view to come and help you. Be sure to invite them for some (but not all) of your session.
What other resources have been produced by your church, or by other local or international organizations i.e. Anglican Communion, United Nations? See the list of resources here http://iayn.anglicancommunion.org/resources/documents.cfm. What do these resources have to say about your Key Question?
Make sure the group has time on its own to hear from each other. Take note of the responses in terms of feelings and thoughts.
Making sense of the information:
This is where you ask what the Christian faith and the Anglican tradition have to say about your Key Question. You can explore the bible, church history, liturgy, hymns/songs, and theological writings. You might want to invite someone who has more knowledge than you on these things. Be sure to invite them for some (but not all) of your session.
What other resources have been produced by your church, or by other local or international organizations? See the list of resources here http://iayn.anglicancommunion.org/index.cfm.
What do these resources have to say about your Key Question?
Make sure the group has time on its own to hear from each other.
Exploring the Christian Faith:
Develop a Vision:
Now is the time to make a response. It is important that your group decide on at least one action and has some clear steps about how to achieve it.
What other resources have been produced by your church, or by other local or international organizations? See the list of resources here http://iayn.anglicancommunion.org/index.cfm. What actions do these resources suggest?
Make sure your group has time to hear what the young people think so they can commit to act.
You identified your Key Question in Session 1. Then you reflected on the context in Session 2 and Christian faith and Anglican tradition in Session 3. Now consider the following:
The following steps will help you decide on at least one action in response to your Key Question. Remember you are invited to work with God to end violence against young women and girls.