Priests of Queenstown Diocese and Women’s Month

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Priests of our Diocese decided on starting a women’s month on a high note with a training. This was three day training course on Addressing Family Violence. There were three major topics that were addressed, namely, Gender sensitization, Link between gender based violence and HIV/AIDS as well as Models of preventing and dealing with family violence. The training started on Tuesday the 4th August to the 6th. The facilitators were Mrs Brenda Snyders and Mrs Nosakhele Mpushe. They took their time in explaining this to the priests. They gave a clear picture of what is happening in family violence though some other things are seen as normal things.

The main aim of the training was to make the priests aware of the gender issues and gender based violence with the focus on understanding the environment that we work in or with. With the first section priests were helped to understand what gender and gender violence is, how people are conditioned into specific gender roles and also causes and effects of violence. Also they were helped to see how it affects children. There were interesting discussions and what made it to be even more interesting was the fact that it was addressed by women. They helped the priests to realize the need of addressing such in different ways, for example, in their homilies, talks in different sodalities and so on.

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The second part addressed how violence against woman increase their risk of and vulnerability of HIV infection. Also there was emphasis on the Domestic Violence Act and how it gives women protection from domestic violence by creating obligations on law enforcement bodies. Here it was clear that in most cases women are taken as servants in their houses. They are hardly appreciated in all they do, to get a thank you from their husbands is something like a bonus. They always agree to do things even those that they do not want to do. Women who experience domestic violence, live in an abnormal and confusing situation as the person who she loves and the society says she should depend on is the person who is hurting and harming her. She is always worried as to what will happen next.

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I found it so helpful especially to priests as they live alone they hardly know about these things. People are so much afraid at times even to go to the office and share with the priest about such issues. This will really help the priests explore common responses or rather models to gender based violence in the communities they are serving. Priests decided that there should be some on-going workshops for the laity to understand these things and share them with their families, friends and the community they live in so as to fight this. Direct and indirect approach should be used to do such. An indirect approach is found to be very good to gender based violence and often allows men and women to discuss openly. Brother priests do not grow tired of doing what is right. Keep it up and let us try and implement this in our parishes and help the people of God do away with the slavery they are living in but in a very polite and indirect manner.

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