Local News

Video Conference Focuses on Violence Faced by Women Around the World

Posted March 7, 1999

— International Women's Day is a 90-year-old tradition that most people don't know about. The occasion was celebrated Monday with a video conference from the United Nations which was sent by satellite all over the world.

Women in the Triangle got a chance to watch the video conference live atUNC-Chapel HillandDuke University. Participants say they gained a better understanding of the violence women face around the world and what people in the Triangle are doing to prevent it.

Some of the pictures were hard to watch; some of the messages were hard to hear. But the goal of the global video conference was to present an honest view of the dangers women face around the world.

"In societies where it's shown that conflict resolution depends on physical violence, in those societies there's a higher likelihood that there's domestic violence," says Nisha Varia of the Women's Research Center.

The conference covered the genital mutilation of young women in Africa. These women bear horrible scars that can not be shown on television.

Most of the violence American women suffer is being dealt with head-on.

"A lot of the efforts that have been successful have really been grass roots efforts," says Beth Morroco, of UNC'sInjury Prevention Research Center. "Women themselves recognize there's a problem, they're speaking out about their own experiences and speaking out about the problem."

A statewide study done by researchers at UNC reveals that half the women who are killed in North Carolina are killed by current or former partners. Of that group, 75 percent have been victims of domestic violence.

"It's probably been in North Carolina, within the past five years, that the public health system is starting to identify domestic violence as the leading cause of injury and a fundamental cause of other health issues," says Jan Capps ofUNC Hospitals.

Anna Walker was at the video conference representing theGovernor's Crime Commission.

"There needs to be much more communication to get people talking about all the different issues -- addressing violence against women and how they're related and how addressing them even in your own little community does have an impact," says Walker.

There are several projects aimed at addressing the problem. The Beacon Program at UNC is working on a manual to help health care providers spot and treat domestic violence victims.

The Governor's Crime Commission is studying 10 domestic violence programs at law enforcement agencies to see what works and what does not work.

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