01/17/2013, 00.00
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Caritas India: The death penalty will not stop violence against women

The debate in civil society in the aftermath of the New Delhi rape is not really promoting equality between men and women. Chetanalaya, a New Delhi Archdiocese NGOs linked to Caritas, proposes alternatives: training seminars, sentimental and sexual education for boys and girls, self-defense courses.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The death penalty eliminates criminals, but will not stop the crimes. Caritas India it reiterates its opposition to capital punishment, responding to those who demand the execution of perpetrators of sexual violence, after the shocking New Delhi gang rape. The organization expresses "grave concern" at the results emerging from the debate, which on the contrary, has failed "to address the lack of gender sensitivity" and the reasons behind "the growing incidents of violence, particularly against women and children." For this reason, Caritas has submitted a document to Justice (Retd) JS Verma Committe, athe commission headed by Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde set up to study changes to the current law on rape and crimes against women. In the report, the Catholic organization indicates some suggestions aimed at promoting equality between men and women.

Among the many groups working together with Caritas is Chetanalaya, a New Delhi Diocese NGO. The Director, Fr. Savari Raj, tells AsiaNews: "One of our main missions we have to spread gender equality. We operate in those areas of high humanitarian emergency, such as resettlement colonies and slums. Following the serious gang rape of New Delhi, we have launched initiatives in all of our locations. "

The projects range from symbolic moments - like candlelight marches in 30 resettlement colonies - to more practical examples, such as seminars and training courses. "After several meetings with our staff, with more than 18 thousand women, we initiated a kind of dialogue with women in the slums." In the slums children often do not receive basic education. "To Mothers - says Fr. Raj - we explained the importance and their responsibility to educate their children at home, from an early age, and highlighted the sex and emotional education."

Another project that Chetanalaya will shortly be launching is a sex education course aimed at teenage boys and girls. In addition, the director adds, "We want to create a 'female leadership', to help these women educate people close to them." The "self-defense course, to teach the girls how to react to the attacks on their way to work, or home has been very useful."

In the campaign for equality between men and women, the NGO has also focused on other forms of violence, such as female feticide and selective abortions. "We are firm - says Fr. Raj -: we are opposed to abortion, whether it is a boy or a girl, and advise people to make other choices."

For Fr. Raj, Chetanalaya's success of "also depends on our approach. Where we can, we try to form leaders and staff from among the members of local communities. In this way, we offend no-one. We're a lay Church organization; we bring our Catholic values ​​to the service of these people. So the people, whatever their religion, know that we do our best to help them. "


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