Breaking the Silence 

From VIVAT Bolivia – we share details of our last experience from this space we share with different congregations which also have representation at the UN.

We have been working since 2013 on the making of an Universal Periodic Review (UPR)  from the civil society, which was presented last year. One of the topics we chose to present was issues with women, specifically the reality of violence, given the fact that it is a day to day issue in the society and has affected many of us one way or another.

The real challenge was the post-UPR. What comes after the UPR? It is a question that not only hits our hearts, but also our heads.

In the search for an answer to this question, the idea of the 2nd Forum for Women was born.

We felt we owed a debt to those who had been part of the 1st Forum and some other participants who somehow had helped us work on the Exam. It was our duty to give back what was owed and above all to gather and listen to their proposals on how to fight the day to day reality and adapt all the recommendations given to the country from other parts of the world on how to eliminate violence against women.

Seventy five women were part of the discussion, and a climate of confidence and interaction was developed that helped many of them share their own experience as strategies that allowed them to go from victim to creators of a new reality of relationships based in equity, empowerment and self-value.

Out of those work groups formed by women, several concrete proposals were developed which promoted capacitation, organization, monitoring of government agencies, projects that promote economic independence of women.

There is still a lot to be done. The enthusiasm these women portray is contagious, and it is almost impossible to just stop and take a step backwards. These were the words we used on the opening video at the 2nd Forum: “it is a challenge that allows no stopping”

Maria Cristina Ramos,SSpS – VIVAT International, Bolivia