Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fighting Domestic Violence in Ukraine: a request from my son in the Peace Corps

As I've mentioned on several occasions, I also have a son in the Peace Corps serving in Ukraine. And though I have tried to keep the scope of this blog limited to gay issues, there have been times in which I have made exceptions. And this post will be yet another one of those exceptions. My Peace Corps son has asked me to post a request on my blog. And I am more than happy to accommodate him. So here goes:

Hello friends, family and others,

Domestic violence is a big problem worldwide, and it is a huge problem here in Ukraine. But with a desperately needed donation you can help. The Gender and Development working group (GAD) is a group of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers who meet regularly to provide support, inspiration and materials to other volunteers working on gender-related problems. Together with our Ukrainian partner organization, "Progressive Women," we plan to hold a conference called "Breaking the Silence" to get Ukrainians, Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community partners and their volunteers talking about and devising strategies to combat domestic violence. This conference will include education about a problem of which most Ukrainians don't realize the full scope. Along with trainings on ways to prevent domestic violence, the conference will include:

* self-defense techniques for women
* project planning and logistics training
* time for all participants to design their own local initiatives
* training on how to provide support for the victims of domestic violence.

Unfortunately, with the current financial crisis, our efforts are being thwarted by disappointing fund-raising. We still need to raise $4,000 within the next month, or we will have to cancel the project. You can help by donating to our project here.

Domestic violence is rarely addressed in Ukraine. It is viewed as other peoples' business and thus remains taboo, fueling the complacency that perpetuates the problem. Talking about domestic violence is the first step in preventing it and supporting its victims. That is why a conference with organizations and active citizens from all across Ukraine is so important.

Perhaps in lieu of Christmas gifts this year you can send some money Ukraine's way. Every donation will help - the best fund-raising is built upon masses of small donations - so don't think that any donation is too small! Again, by donating, you can help ensure that problems of domestic violence will not go unnoticed in Ukraine!

Thank you so much for your help. Please pass this e-mail on to as many people as you can and help us help Ukraine fight domestic violence. Again, you can donate here:

The GAD Council working group, as mentioned above, is a group of volunteers who meet to regularly to develop materials, provide support, inspire, and educate volunteers working on gender-related issues. The GAD Council covers such diverse topics as human trafficking, domestic violence, women in the workplace, leadership of young men and women, equality issues at home, in the family, and in the workplace, and GLBT issues, in addition to running an essay contest, and two summer camps - one for young boys and another for young girls. If you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to write to - but remember, we are Peace Corps volunteers often with limited internet access and there may be some delay in answering e-mails!

This project is a community project, done by a local organization with the help of individual volunteers, and not the Peace Corps organization.

Thank you so much for your time, interest and dedication to preventing domestic violence!

Happy holidays,

The GAD Council
Peace Corps Ukraine

Update: I stand corrected (by my son) on one small item:

Actually Mom, this project is in the scope of your blog because 1) domestic violence occurs at scary rates between same-sex partners but also within families with gay children and 2) if we get full funding (which means we can have a full conference) we'll be addressing GLBT issues as well. If we dont' get full funding, we'll still be addressing healthy relationships and respect for people, which is indirectly addressing GLBT issues.


Sassywho said...

You're son is correct, but I would also like to add that domestic violence is about dominance and control, which stems from same rigid definition of masculinity that promotes homophobia.

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