Mumbai: For the International Day of the Girl Child (11th October), the Archdiocese of Mumbai launched a petition asking for enhanced security and protection of Indian women. "Parents need to be the first instruments of change," the city's auxiliary archbishop said, for they can "teach their children the value of dignity and equality" and the latter "will in turn spread them to the community."
"In order to stop violence against women and instil the values of respect, dignity, honesty and morality towards all human beings, we must start from the family, which is the fundamental basis of society," said Mgr Savio Fernandes, auxiliary bishop of Mumbai, ahead of the International Day of the Girl Child, celebrated around the world on 11 October.
For the occasion, the prelate launched a petition last 8 September - Archdiocese's Day of Girl Child - asking for greater security and protection of Indian women. All adults in the Archdiocese are invited to sign. The petition, along with a memorandum, will be presented to Maharashtra's chief minister on 11 October.
"Despite many debates, rallies and shows of anger and solidarity," the prelate said, "we continue to have acts of violence. We must not only condemn, but also adopt long-term strategies to bring about real change."
At the same time, he added, "we must send a strong message to our politicians. They must be sensitive to crimes against innocent civilians, particularly women, and not use tragic occasions such as the rapes in New Delhi and Mumbai as arguments in an election campaign".
In this regard, the Church plays a leading role in raising awareness in society and the community about the issue of gender equality.
"The archdiocese," Mgr Fernandes explained, "has sponsored programmes and activities at various levels, from schools to parishes, as well in Sunday homilies. We need to teach people that all human beings, especially girls and women, must be respected and treated with dignity and justice. "
To do this we must start with the family. "What happens behind the walls of the home," the bishop said, "is reflected on a larger scale in society. If both parents teach their children the value of dignity and equality, they will in turn spread them to the community. Parents need to be the first instruments of change."
Source: Asia News