This week is the final week of the “Commission on the Status of Women,” a conference being held at the United Nations in New York City. United Families International has several volunteers at the UN working to influence pro-life and pro-family language into the outcome documents that will soon become International Law.
As important as this lobbying is, those in our delegation also have opportunity to support women who have come from all over the world to speak to UN delegations concerning their difficult situations at home. Until we hear their stories many of us cannot fathom the situations these good women are experiencing. In past years I have heard women speak about human slave and sex trafficking. Their laws and police force do not protect them or their children from such atrocities. I have heard women talk about watching other women stoned to death without trial or jury. I have heard women talk about laws that do not protect their 10, 11, and 12 year-old daughters from being bought and subjected to marriage and pregnancy…pregnancy that often causes the unborn baby to die within the womb of the child bride because her body is not mature enough to give birth.
I’m not at CSW (Commission on the Status of Women) this year, but I am trying to read as much as I can about what is happening as they try to direct this year’s focus on eliminating violence against women. I just read an article by someone who is at the conference. His words brought back vivid memories of needs and concerns that are too often sidelined.
“During the waning days of the conference’s first week and well into this most recent weekend, I watched and listened as African women discussed and debated the all-important Outcome Document amongst themselves. Luckily for me, English is their common language and as I sat beside them in the Business Center of our clean but quite modest hotel late into the night on Saturday AND Sunday, I heard their concerns.”
“They are worried about their daughter’s AND son’s education; they want access to potable water in the more remote regions of their respective countries; more doctors, and in keeping with this year’s conference theme, they want real life-and-death protection for their daughters.”
As I read his article, I was taken back to the years when I attended CSW, and my heart went out to these women who are desperate for help. I have personally seen women who have to walk miles for potable water. I have seen the small dark tents where 15+ children huddle to be taught reading and simple arithmetic. I have seen villages whose only “doctor” is a witch doctor who uses the same needle on his patients until it is too dull to be used again. I have seen mother’s grieve over the loss of a child to dehydration, snakebite, and disease when there was no medicine or help to save.
We who can’t imagine raising a family in such living conditions should count our blessings, and determine that we will give selflessly to strengthen our families, and then support causes that can lift and help the struggling.
Because I have seen what I have seen, and experienced what I have experienced, I cannot, without guilt, spend time on the trivial. I’m grateful for that guilt. There are causes too vital not to get involved. I try to examine my priorities every day. And then I pray like the dickens that my efforts will make a difference.