Together We Stand against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

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Last Updated (Thursday, 28 January 2021 16:58)

Together We Stand against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

The National Council of YMCAs of India organized a Week-long of Activism Against

Gender-Based Violence

In response to the call of the Asia & Pacific Alliance of YMCAs( APAY), to observe the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), the NCY India organized a week long virtual program on December 4-10, 2020. The global campaign began on November 25, 2020, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and concluded on 10th December 2020, the Human Rights Day. The UN UNiTE campaign had set the theme for the year “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!" The APAY chose the theme “Together We Stand Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence”, and invited men and women to actively participate in the 16 days of the campaign.

The NCY India actively participated in the global campaign. The week long meaningful virtual program was a collective effort of the National Women’s Forum, The Department of National Youth Work & Programmes of the National Council of YMCAs of India (NCYI) in association with different Projects & Region of the NCYI - The Southern India Region of YMCAs, Health & Healthy Living Project, Vellore, YMCA Youth Centre Project Bhimtal, YMCA Multi-Sports Complex project, Faridabad, YMCA Programme Centre, Kurnool and National Projects in South West India Region, Alwaye Campsite Project, hosted the week long program.

The virtual program was designed with specific themes for each day to address issues related to sexual, gender-based violence, specifically violence against women. The Inaugural day programme hosted by the Youth Work Department of NCY India on the 4th December led by Mr. Sam Robert, (Secretary of National Youth Work & Programme Department) and inaugurated by the chief-guest honourable Justice (Retd.) Jacob Benjamin Koshy, (National President of NCYI). The order of worship was led by Mrs Elizabeth George, (General Convener, Dr Leonora R. Mohan, &Ms Asha Paul, Vice-Chairpersons of the National Women’s Forum, NCYI, Dr Betsy Williams, National Executive Member, NCYI, Mrs Rosleen Devaraj, Chairperson, Women’s Forum, South Central India Region of YMCAs, Ms Riya Raj Dubey, Youth Leader, Faridabad Project, Ms Janet Vasantha Kumari, Chairperson, Women’s Empowerment & Gender Concern, Madurai YMCA, Dr Lalthankima Ralte, Chairperson, Women’s Forum, North East India Region of YMCAs &Ms Jayashree Pradhan, Chairperson, Women’s Forum, Eastern India Region of YMCAs.

Mr. Nam Boo Won, General Secretary of APAY, gave the guest of honour message, which stressed on the significance of growing leadership of women together with men. He congratulated the NCY India for a meaningful programme with great response. Mr. Bertram Devadas, National General Secretary of NCY India delivered the special address. The keynote speaker Dr. Ruth Manorama, President, National Alliance of Women, & Dalit Social Activist focused on the theme “Together We Stand Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.” She quoted various points in a practical way and asked the YMCA movement must extend theire projects especially on this particular issue at all over the word.



Second day programme hosted by the YMCA Southern India Region, on the theme- “Gender-Based Violence – Prevalence/ Causes/ Recourse”. Mr Jacob Koshy, National Vice President, NCY India delivered the guest of honour message. Ms Rebecca Stephen, Member, Personnel Committee, NCYI the Keynote Speaker, spoke on the topic and focused three foundational building blocks, such as Biblical Foundation, Mission Statement- Challenge 21 & Global Movement.

Third day programme hosted by the YMCA Health & Healthy Living project, Vellor, on the theme "Impact of Domestic Violence during COVID-19 Pandemic" . Dr Sheila Benjamin, Executive Director, SCINDeA, & Former National Executive Member of NCYI analyzed the situation of lower-middle-class families and their socio-economic, physiological condition during the COVID -19 pandemic, how families facing the financial crisis which leads to domestic violence, with statistical data during her key note address.

Fourth day programme hosted by the YMCA Bhimtal Project of the NCY India, on the theme “Gender Roles - Psychological, Emotional, Economical, & Physical Violence”. The guest of honour Mr. R.S. Shettian, Hon. Treasurer, NCY India addressed the meeting. Dr Beulah Shekhar, the Keynote Speaker delivered the address. She explained various forms of violence against women: physical and physiological abuse, Verbal and emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and economical abuse. She also referred, gender-based violence is an inter-generational crime and encouraged to educate against traditional belief / prejudice: submissiveness/ silence is golden, domesticated / never question the authority, never say ‘NO’ and the tolerance of violence.

Fifth day programme was hosted by the YMCA Multi-Sports Complex, Faridabad Project of the NCY India on the theme “Combating Gender Based Violence among Youth”. Ms. Rakotomalala Lantonirina, General Secretary, African Alliance of YMCAs was the Chief Guest. Ms. Nirmala Gurung, Regional Coordinator for Asia, SRHR and Mental Health, World YWCA & Executive Board, Christian Conference of Asia, Kathmandu, Nepal was the Guest of Honour. Dr. Joycia Thorat, National Gender Task Force, CASA India & Chair of ACT Alliance Asia Pacific Gender Justice Community of Practice delivered the Key-Note Address. ”Mr. Samuel Pervez, National General Secretary of YMCA Pakistan graced the occasion.

The sixth day programme was hosted by the YMCA Kurnool Project. on the theme “Sexual Violence in India- Schools, Institutions, and Workplaces” .Dr Evangeline Anderson- Raj Kumar, Presbyter of Indianan Kentucky Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church of America & Professor and Doctoral Dean of UTC, Bangalore was the keynote speaker. She emphasized that the YMCA can bring the change and take up the challenge of addressing justice for all. Advocate eradicating the colluding silence of the patriarchal society. she suggested that the spectators of violence both silent and people who articulate the violence should take up the initiative to stop the gender-based violence as a mandate.

The final day programme was hosted by the YMCA Alwaye Campsite Project of the NCY India on the theme “Violence against Women – Women’s Rights are Human Rights.” As December 10 is observed as international human rights day. A brief introduction on 16 Days of Activism against GBV was given by Mr Sam Robert, Mr. Shaji K. Kurian, Chairman of the YMCA Alwaye Project, welcomed the guests & participants. The chief guest, honourable Justice (Retd), Jacob Benjamin Koshy, gave valedictory remarks. Mr. Bertram Devadas, National General Secretary,was guest of honour. Ms. Shamila Doris, General Secretary of Madurai YMCA moderated the session.

Ms Sunita Suna, Executive Secretary for Programs, APAY delivered the key note speech. She said, violence against women is happening every corner of the world in different forms, in different traditions, culture, and contexts and it is widespread. Every 15 minutes, a woman is raped in India as statistic suggests. She also introduced the Thursdays in Black movement - towards creating a world without rape, and violence and invited all to join the movement. She concluded with three A's- ACKNOWLEDGE- violence against women is a reality of our world; AFFIRM- women and men are created in the image and likeness of God -violation of the rights of women is disrespecting God's creation and violating God's covenant. If we affirm, we have to ADVOCATE for a violence-free society and the rights of women - human rights are women's rights!

Ms. Bella Das, UNICEF on Social Protection & Policy & Vice President, College of Social Work Nirmala Niketan (Alumni Association) Mumbai, Maharashtra & Vice President, YMCA Patna gave the special address. Concluding remarks presented by Dr Leonora R. Mohan, Vice-Chairperson of National Women’s Forum, NCYI & Consultant Psychologist, Sparsh Counselling Centre. She summarized the views expressed by the speakers to reduce VAW as follows:


1) Raise awareness of the dangers of harmful traditions like FGM (female genital mutilation)

2) Tackle violence against girls/women in schools/colleges/ work place by providing counsellors and other social service organizations

3) Transform attitudes towards harmful practices at multiple levels (child marriage/dowry etc.)

4) Provide awareness amongst boys/young men to become agents of change

5) Listen to the WOMAN when she wants to express and come up with a SOLUTION

6) Challenge and speak against violence in the home environment (beating/ abuse/ forced intimacy)

7) Connect specialists to high risk communities

8) Share vital information with the community

9) Reach out to the marginalized girls.

10) Provide security for girls/women as they commute.

Perhaps as forerunners in social service activities, YMCAs across the world could take up some of these issues and be an instrument of change in our society.

Miss. Ann Maria Samuel, Chairperson for National Uni-Y Committee, was the …. of the program. Vote of thanks delivered by Mrs. Agnes Velentine, Chairperson, Women’s Forum, Bhadravathi YMCA. The Week-long Activism Against Gender-Based Violence virtual program concluded by a word of prayer and benediction by Rev. Sudhansu Sekhar Naik, General Secretary, Bhubaneswar YMCA.


By Sam Robert P - Executive Secretary- NCY India