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By Triennial Today
8/5/2003
[Episcopal News Service] 

Spanish-speaking delegates to the 2003 Triennial Meeting and special guests from Brazil participated in a well-attended workshop, Violence Against Women, led by Diana Frade.

Diana Frade has lived in Honduras since 1971 and continues her work in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, as the executive director of Our Little Roses Ministries. Founded 15 years ago, the ministry focuses on caring for orphaned, abandoned and abused girls. The ministry has a legal advocacy component for battered and abused women.

“Women’s rights are human rights,” said Frade, quoting from Hillary Clinton’s address to the Beijing human rights conference in 1995. Before viewing Promesas Quebrantadas (Broken Promises), a powerful video on domestic violence, the participants shared their individual interests for participating in the workshop.

Broken Promises dealt with religious perspectives centering on domestic violence that focused on four basic themes: physical, emotional, economic and sexual violence. In small groups, the participants had an opportunity to discuss how violence is manifested in couples and to ask, based on each of the four themes of violence, whether domestic violence is a private or a social problem.

After the group discussions, it was concluded that violence against women is not a problem of two-thirds of the world or of only the poor. Rather, violence is a problem that crosses all cultural, economic and social boundaries.

The first step in eradicating domestic violence is to make society responsible through systems such as education, health, judicial, media communication and, most importantly, churches.

What can Episcopal Church Women do at home to support systems that exist to eradicate abuse against women? “The problem is enormous and we must not be silent,” said Frade. Every nine seconds, she said, a woman is battered or abused in the United States. “We must be the voice for the voiceless, those women who live in fear of their lives and those of their children,” she said.