Letters: Petition the Indian government

Attitudes are what cause violence and rape towards women

News of the gang rape of a 23-year-old physio-therapist student on a bus in India recently is an occurrence no woman or parent in Sooke, or for that matter anywhere in the world, would learn of without horror, disgust and revulsion.

Today I was invited, by the Avaaz organization, to add my name to a petition soon to be sent to the Indian government. Besides a vote, I was offered the chance to send some comments to the Justice Verma Committee. Here is what I wrote:

“In Delhi India you have the magnificent Baha’i Temple; it receives an enormous number of visitors each year, second only to the Taj Mahal. We, as Baha’i’s, believe that the world of the future will draw ever more closely to the teaching of Baha’u’llah, that women and men are like two wings of humanity; that the bird of humankind cannot fly toward the complete realization of social, spiritual and material prosperity unless and until a number of vital principles are adopted and practiced, among them the equality of women and men. In reality the bird of humanity cannot fly to its apex of prosperity unless both wings are valued and fully developed.

Think what a wonderful difference it will make in the growth and development of our children when we raise them to believe in the nobility of all human beings; when we give girls and women the respect, recognition and opportunities that boys and men are given. When this fundamental attitude becomes integral to the thought patterns and behaviour of all the citizens of planet Earth, acts of rape and violence against women will be no more. With a universal will to adopt such a principal, it could happen in one generation. How wonderful it would be if India’s population, in its entirety, were to gain such a resolve because of the violation and death one young woman.”

Since  rape and violence against women happens, sadly, in most countries, cities and towns, I felt it might be of interest to fellow residents of Sooke to share my comments and offer them an opportunity to gain more information and perhaps lend support to the petition. The petition urges, among other things, that “…the Indian government urgently strengthen legislation and enforcement against sexual violence,” and also “combat the negative views of women that help promote rape and lead to the failure to investigate and prosecute rapists through a massive public education campaign.” It calls on them to “…urgently strengthen sexual violence legislation and enforcement, and to launch a massive public education program with hard-hitting and high quality content designed to bring about a profound shift in the shameful attitudes that permit and promote violence against women.”

The connecting link to more information, plus the petition is: http://www.avaaz.org/en/end_indias_war_on_women/?cdwXIab

The connecting link for more information on the teachings of the Baha’i Faith is:www.baha’i.org

Bill Skuce

Sooke