26th February 2013
Recommendation to the church for a 10 Point Policy on Gender Violence
The inter denominational and NGOs team which undertook a fact finding visit to Kandhamal, Orissa, between 23 and 26 February 2013 made a series of suggestions to the Orissa government on the basis of their findings of the acute nature of gender violence in the region. Following are suggestions made to the Church in India in general, and particularly to groups active in Kandhamal and other tribal areas.
1. The Church must adopt a policy of Zero Tolerance on gender violence both in society and within the church.
2. Church leadership must orient the priests, pastors, women religious, NGOs and laity to be gender sensitive in their word and deed.
3. Church leadership must respond pro-actively on gender and justice issues to defend the rights and dignity of women and girl children.
4. Make gender equality in churches visible and witnessing to the liberating gospel of Christ.
5. Evaluate mission performance for the last 5 years, particularly on gender issues to address them more strategically in the coming years
6. Empower local congregations on justice and peace from gender perspectives and build legal awareness among church bodies
7. Promote the philosophy that ‘Positive rebellion is the need of the hour in the context of patriarchal oppression of women and girls.’
8. Create space for young people to creatively use their talents and skills to counter the culture of gender violence.
9. Adopt policy of zero tolerance in the church in relation to paedophilia.
10. Ensure concerted and centralised co-ordination between the churches and the denominations on gender violence to build pressure on the governments to address the issues.