“Awareness and confidence raising event on cyber security and human rights", organized by CSI Coimbatore Diocese and CSI SEVA – Justice and Empowering-Diakonia Perspective (JEDP) brought together, over 300 young women and men, the civil society and the Church, to emphasize that cyber violence against women and girls could be prevented with a “zero tolerance” approach, held on 29th March at the Parish Hall, CSI Coimbatore Diocese.
This awareness event started with participants mourning brutal rape and death of the 7year-old Rythanya Sree. Mrs.Anny Hemalatha Ravinder, President of Women’s Fellowship recalled couple of incidents on violence against girls in an educational institution & within the family itself. Bishop Rt.Rev.Timoty Ravinder, in his presidential address, drew attention to the existing deficiencies in combatting cyber violence against women and urged young women that when faced with sexual harassment, rape or abuse, they should speak up, be self-confident and apply to the emergency hotlines as well as to service providers and institutions working in this field. “Prevention should start early in life, by educating and working with young boys and girls promoting respectful relationships and gender equality”, Bishop added.
In her special address, Mrs.Ruby, Inspector of Police (Gandhipuram Special Wing) advised the youth boys and girls to download the app 'kavalan.sos' for any type of emergency, while going alone, particularly during the night, as police help could be availed within 10 minutes. Women and young girls often find it difficult to report online abuse to the police for several reasons, ranging from not knowing the law to not trusting the criminal justice system, she added. Rev.Livingston, Convener of the Socio-Economic Concern Committee stated that, it is the responsibility of the parent community, institutions and civil society to create safe spaces for women to talk about the abuse they face and we need to improve the implementation of existing laws. “Working with men and boys helps accelerate progress in preventing and ending violence against women and girls”, he added.
Mr.Isaac from CSI SEVA emphasised that, ‘violence against women and girls is not inevitable’, it can be ended with measures such as the enactment and enforcement of laws to protect women and girls, the stringent prosecution of offenders, prevention efforts that begin at an early age to instil a culture of zero tolerance of violence and support services that are available to all survivors, promoting respectful relationship & gender equality, working with the youth ad children. It is also important to challenge the deeply rooted inequalities and social norms that perpetuate men’s control and power over women and reinforce tolerance for violence against women and girls.
The event was concluded with participants pledging that they will never commit, allow or encourage physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse and join hands together in solidarity to eliminate violence against women, which is necessary for a healthy and progressive society.