The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women convened Monday for the start of for its 63rd meeting, bringing women leaders from all over the world to the UN headquarters in New York to advocate for issues of importance to women across the globe. CSW 63 will last through March 22, with a range of official meeting and side events.
On the sidelines of the session on Monday, the World Jewish Congress teamed up with Enosh, an Israeli mental health organization that helps women cope with the traumas resulting from sexual violence and abuse, for a special panel discussion on the connection between mental health and sexual trauma, an issue often neglected by professionals in the field.
The panel brought together perspectives from the international level, policymakers, professionals in mental health recovery, NGOs and academia, to provide a comprehensive set of innovative approaches, tested good practices and policy guidance around addressing the intersection between these two issues.
Evelyn Sommer, Chair of World Jewish Congress North America, introduced the panel, telling the audience: “The World Jewish Congress is a human rights organization that was formed in 1936, to fight antisemitism and all forms of racism. Among our affiliated members are organizations that work specifically to empower women and girls, including the Women’s International Zionist Organization, WIZO, which runs a hotline for men to deter them from becoming abusers, and shelters for battered women and children. Sexual violence is an international evil that we must combat on an international level.”
The panel was moderated by Yfat Barak-Cheney, WJC’s Senior Manager of International affairs and Deputy Director of the WJC’s Jewish Diplomatic Corps. The panel opened with an address by Claudia Garcia-Morena, a member of the World Health Organization’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research, where she leads WHO’s work on violence against women. She was followed by Lori Beyer, Director of Trauma Training at Community Connections, a private non-profit agency providing a full range of human services in metropolitan Washington, D.C. They were joined by Liron David, and Israeli lawyer and social worker who serves as Director of International Relations and Development in Enosh; Miriam Ament, founder and president of No Shame on U, an organization dedicated to eliminating the stigma associated with mental health conditions and raising awareness in the Jewish community and beyond; and Marion Scotchmer, Chief Operation Officer at Community Connections.