|Kamala Sarup: Peace and Women - Some Sad Stories
Monday, 29 November 2004, 12:03 pm
Opinion: Kamala Sarup
Peace and Women - Some Sad Stories
By Kamala Sarup
At a time when insecurity is on the rise in Asia, women and girls are told that the insecurity and fear of sexual violence or abduction is keeping them in their homes, out of schools, and away from work and looking for employment. The failure of the occupying power to protect women and girls from violence, and redress it when it occurs, has both immediate and long-term negative implications for the safety of women and girls.
Many women of various ages in Asia express sympathy for these women. Women living in poverty, particularly rural women, also suffer because of the use of arms that are particularly injurious or have indiscriminate effects. With increased insecurity and fear of attack often cause women to flee. Women in Asia always have to bear a disproportionate burden of poverty and they have painful experience arising from the uncontrolled flows of arms..
women's educater Sudha said " We can not forget how women and children are particularly affected by the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel land-mines. The ongoing daily violence against women and children, the violence of battering, sexual assault, poverty, lack of opportunity, and women's bodies, is ignored.
We need women's actions, to make these larger connections, to assert that compassion is not weakness and brutality is not strength, to dramatize our support for nurturing and life affirming values. She pointed out that there are existing mechanisms for dealing with anger and suffering that we need to use and practice in order to achieve a just and lasting peace.Some women argue: since the use of force, internal and external, can only exacerbate the conflict, all efforts should be made to establish the dialogue and to provide a peaceful solution to the conflict by the use of political, economic and social means. Thus, Conflict resolution, in women's terms, should include, the outcome should address the underlying problems or issues, rather than just symptoms or surface manifestations of the conflict, it should be jointly determined; and the process should achieve at least some degree of satisfaction for the parties concerned.
When we stand for peace as women, it is not to make a case for our special victimhood, but to represent a different vision of strength. To defend those values, we need women's voices against the war. For women allows us to analyze patriarchy, the constellation of values, ideas and beliefs that reinforces male control over women. Women tend to agree on the fact that gender inequalities exist and need to be eradicated; and on the need to develop theoretical frameworks and political strategies that will emerge from and have resonance for women's lives.
The work of women in peace groups is presupposed, it is invisible, trying, women's work; it's a part of 'our' role; to care for others, to comfort, aid, tend wounds, and feed. The painful realization that the peace movement would to some extent also follow a patriarchal model caused a serious dilemma for women-pacifists. We wanted our presence to be visible. We wanted it to be clearly understood that what we were doing was our political choice, a radical criticism of the patriarchal, and a non-violent act of resistance to policies that destroy cities, kill people, and annihilate human relations.
We are the group of women who believe that solidarity is one of the deepest values of our existence, that active solidarity between women is the force and the tenderness by which we can overcome isolation, loneliness, traumas and other consequences of hatred. We are the ones who come out in the public with our bodies and our visions of the world without war, rape, violence". Peace educater Suchitra argued.
From a women's perspective , involves a conflict resolution style that can be easily recognized as compatible with female values and goals. This description of female values in dealing with conflict mirrors the goals of mediation. The mediation adopts the female values of supporting, maintaining, and enhancing communication between the disputants.
In the past decade, however, women peace activists have insisted that the role gender plays in both the escalation and the de-escalation of conflicts depends on the particular historical, cultural and sociopolitical context as well as on the conceptual framework one utilizes to explore the gendered dimensions of serious political conflicts.
Women who wished to maintain their connection with peace organizations struggled to sensitize male leadership to sexist attitudes and to bring about more shared leadership between women and men. As women were liberated from passive dependence on men, they would be able to direct their naturally pacific tendencies into the public arena as an independent force for peace and disarmament.
Women prefer In the past d