UN International Women’s Day 2015

The Hon Jillian Skinner MP NSW Minister for Health
The Hon Jillian Skinner MP
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Logo
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

UN International Women’s Day Seminar – CEDAW 2015 March 8 was celebrated for the 5th year in State Parliament House Sydney on Monday 9th March this year with our Parliamentary sponsorMinister for Health The Hon Jillian Skinner MP opening the Seminar  immediately after Acknowledgement to Country by Indigenous speaker Robyn Carroll from Mulla Walla Family & Community Support at Woolloomooloo.

 

Robyn Carrol
Robyn Carrol
Pam Lemoine
Pam Lemoine
Valerie Weeks
Valerie Weeks

Pamela Lemoine UNAANSW member read out the message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to UNIWDay. Valerie Weeks, Co-Convenor of UNIWD and past President of co-sponsor of the event UNAANSW spoke on the History of Women in Australia.

Robyn Carrol and Affie Adagio
Robyn Carrol and Affie Adagio

Sue Conde past President of UN Women Australia was to speak on the topic CEDAW Convention for Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Committee for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women which was set up to monitor the progress of the Convention; but unfortunately had to attend a funeral so sent her paper which I spoke to as I was speaking about my experience with attending as one of 22 community representative the UN Conference/Forum for Women Peace and Development in Copenhagen in 1980 when CEDAW was launched to the world and Australia had signed the Convention during the Frasier government.

Jillian Skinner MP -  NSW Minister for Health
Jillian Skinner MP

The same number of women government representatives had also been chosen by the Minister for Home and Women Affairs The Hon Bob Ellicott. Decades later we still  have a lot to achieve. At that time in the Scandinavian Parliaments there were many women members. We still have women in countries such as USA and Australia not being paid the same as men for the same work! And murder, rape and verbal and physical abuse is still rampant throughout the world however, the Minister advised that the Baird government would ensure a Minister for Domestic Violence as the priority if they are re-instated, that is how serious the situation is.

Robyn Carroll spoke of the history of Walla Mulla Family and Community Support which was created by a nun and is now a vital service to the Indigenous community. Robyn also shared about her struggle in life and we were all so happy for her because she has been awarded the NSW Woman Award for Sydney 2015 in the NSW WOMEN AWARDS 2015 and we presented her with a box of congratulatory chocolates along with her bunch of flowers for being a speaker.

Margaret Conway
Margaret Conway

The next speaker was Margaret Conway from GLAPDGreat Lakes Agency for Peace and Development. Margaret spoke about the Great Lakes of Africa especially women from Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo.

Chris Hamer
Chris Hamer

Buddhist Venerable Dr. Tich Minh Tam UNAANSW Committee member brought Professor Chris Hamer UNSW who spoke on the work of Women, Peace and Sustainability. It was rewarding to have full attendance in the Waratah Room and especially that we had for the first time a large contingent of men in the audience.

The Humanist Society of NSW has also been a co-Sponsor of the UNIWDAY for 5 years especially generous with covering costs and Ian Bryce the current President was invited to say a few words.

Mina Batra AM
Mina Batra AM

Mina Batra AM member of the UNAANSW Committee and responsible for the Interfaith Portfolio dressed in a beautiful sari thanked the speakers while Valerie Weeks handed out the final bouquet of pink roses to me not only as a speaker and Convenor/MC but also because the UNIWDAY coincides with my birthday on March 8th. So it was indeed a great day for me.

Waratah Room
Waratah Room

We thank State Parliament House for letting us have the Waratah Room for the venue gratis. We had beautiful croissants and tea and coffee with a platter of fruit and gluten free cupcakes for those who have sensitive stomachs but that was not gratis and that is why we needed to charge for the event.

International Womens Day flowers for speakersMany thanks to Fred Flatow HSNSW member who sat at the door collecting entry monies which covered the expenses of the afternoon tea. We are pleased to announce that serendipitously Fred won the lucky door prize which was a huge heart shaped pink frame for family photos which could be mounted on a wall which he loved and truly deserved!

I would like to finish with mentioning 3 important points: There are two reasons I chose to convene the UNIWD for five years:

  1. To disseminate information about women’s issues
  2. I chose the venue to be State Parliament House Sydney to show that the community especially women have access to Parliament House and gratis.
  3. We have available printed copies of Valerie Weekes’ History of Women in Australia, and Sue Conde’s CEDAW History and the event has been taped and will be on YouTube soon – contact Dr. Affie Adagio <affie@affie.com.au> or 0421 101 163 or (02) 9690 1431 (h)

Mortgages high levels low interest beware

Mae Sultana Look into my eyesBefore you jump into the deep end “I’ve been there, done that!” so watch out because the banks and lending bodies appear as benefactors offering huge mortgages and low interests and unless you can get FIXED RATES you will suffer their SIEGE MENTALITIES as many of us did with some facing great losses and bankruptcy. I was interviewed on the current affairs program of the day telling our stories where one minute we were given huge mortgages for 6% interest and one blink of the eye and they were up to 23% with the banks not even returning our calls! We ordinary people were not the only ones, even the millionaires went broke too! So when I see those advertisements enticing you to get the huge mortgage at low interests I think “come in suckers!” and “BE CAREFUL!” they’ve done it twice in my lifetime already and this will be the third I’m sure!

 

The image is my Tabby cat Mae who’s got the perfect look “watch out!”

Adult children

silhouetted friends 1, photo by aernst, PA, United States,Parents have the responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children. Being a role model for a loving relationship is both satisfying for the parents and rewarding for the children because it helps them all live a functional, healthy lifestyle. When children become adults it is important that parents learn how to let go and let their adult children get on with their lives. Parents can trust that their childrearing practices were beneficial and that their adult children will make the appropriate choices in life. Sometimes this parenting stage can be the most difficult part of all, because we need to observe and not interfere or make comments no matter how useful we think they may be. At such times our contributions can be perceived as criticisms or disapproval. What makes it difficult is that we need to then change the parenting role from one that’s based on responsibility and guidance to one based on validation and support.

Simone was concerned about her son who
was out of work and his marriage was suffering
she could not help herself and at the first opportunity
lost her cool and criticised Joseph in an attempt to
snap him out of his lethargy, or so she thought!
but her daughter-in-law, Sue, defended him
and what was intended to be a rescue mission
by a caring mother, then turned out to be a disaster
Joseph felt incompetent,
Sue became protective of her husband and
Simone was demoralised
it would have been more useful if Simone
kept her supportive parent role until
Joseph found himself again with the
support of his wife

Lying a symptom of addiction

Cut the crap 2, photo by Steve WoodsLouanne wrote in response to my post on addiction is lying how she believes her husband is an addict and lies. When she threatens divorce “he cowers and cleans up his act for a while” but she doesn’t think he has the personal strength to admit the true problem and “get appropriate care”. She goes on to say:

Im in such a dilemma. I would LOVE to be free from this man, but I look for answers in the bible and I believe it says to work it out. I see a lifetime of struggle and unhappiness with this man. Is that what my path is to stay in a close walk with God?

I don’t believe that working it out and “staying in a close walk with God” means the suffering of the family while a person who is addicted is in denial and does not seek appropriate help. In putting up with this behaviour you are accommodating his denial and lies. Nevertheless, when you and your daughters have had enough pain, in other words reached your ‘rock bottom’ as to what you can cope with, then you will take the steps that are necessary, based on ‘tough love’. Perhaps in the meantime it would help you to attend therapy to help you avoid enabling his addiction. Such help can be gained from an addictions therapist and/or a 12 Step support group of that compulsion such as Al Anon or Naranon or even CoDA (Codependents Anonymous).

People helping people

691693_many_hands.jpgIt is so important to belong to a community of like minded people. It prevents isolation. It provides social activities and above all it gives us support when we need it. Furthermore, providing service to the community is also a healthy activity and can be quite fulfilling. However, it is vital that we avoid gossip and that we practise good people skills otherwise the purpose is defeated. People helping people is a basic necessity for happiness and fulfillment.

sometimes we teach what we need to learn
and Jessie paid attention to the message she gave
to the people who came to her for assistance
so although she was giving service because she
found it rewarding she also was mindful about
what it meant to her wellbeing
and the lesson she got for herself today was that
she was glad to be free of the obsession
that others were still struggling with

Forgiveness

652974_yellow_rose.jpg In adulthood we learn that forgiveness is a powerful tool for freeing us of resentments. In most cases as we discover the healing power of forgiveness it becomes easier to do. Forgiving does not mean allowing people to do the same to us again. Some abuse feels impossible to forgive and as long as it does not rule our lives it can wait until we are ready to do so. Although forgiveness for a lesser hurt can feel just as impossible, it is vital to master the art of forgiveness. That’s how to gain emotional maturity and freedom from self pity.

hearing the words of the song
“I’m sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn’t do”
made it possible to forgive my mother for the hurt I felt
that doesn’t mean that I condone her abusive behaviour
but rather that I can let go of the resentment that
has been festering inside all my life
I don’t fool myself into thinking that
we can ever have a loving relationship
because I’ve tried that before and
it has been “moth to flame” as they say
but now I can feel sorry for what
she has gone through in life rather than
being hard-hearted as I had done in the past
more importantly forgiving her means
releasing the pain from my inner child

Love and sex addict

Candles in love, photo by Nevit Dilmen, Istanbul, Tukey,  loving relationshipsIf you need to ask “am I a love and sex addict?” then you are, because if you are not then you know it clearly. A love addict, like anyone afflicted with any other addiction, is searching for the “high” from a relationship with another. They are obsessed with the thought of how good they feel in their company and having sex, to the extent that when they are apart they cannot think of anything else. This usually leads to clingy and jealous behaviour quite often accompanied by feelings of rejection. Then their feelings swing back up to unhealthy heights and not always together. A functional loving relationship has ups and downs but not extremes.

Veronica seemed contented as she told me
about her marriage of 4 years
as a person with unpleasant past relationships
she had been terribly hurt and because of
her love addiction had previously attracted
such painful relationships
so as we ticked off the positives about
her marriage and 3 children
she couldn’t believe she had found happiness
and was always expecting something to go wrong
then she realised that this was the same
when she first gave up drinking
with doubts about her sobriety, if it would last?
this helped her to realise it was the
cunning process of addiction which
plays tricks on your mind to tempt
you back to the old ways
so she went off to enjoy her success
which she had earned

How to handle feelings

Orchadee 2, photo by Frank Muller, Wallenfels, Bayern, Germany,  positive outlookAtlanta left this positive comment on my previous post on “Addiction and anger”. I show it here so that people can see yet another example of how people can handle their feelings in a manner so that ‘they run their feelings instead of their feelings running them’. Congratulations to both of you, Atlanta, for practising smart living.

“Thanks for this post Affie. A friend and I were talking just last night about this very thing. She is a person that is responsible and likes to take care of things but underneath the anger was brewing. She didnt rage, but identified that she wasnt expressing how she she wasnt happy with a situation. I think bringing awareness to emotions is a way to start to process them and bring about some relief.”

Addiction and anger

Trapped, photo by Girinath Gopinath, Bangalore, India, must escapeUnresolved anger is a basic human condition which can hurt our minds and bodies. Addiction and anger feed each other in a neverending cycle. When we don’t practise skills to express our feelings appropriately then the anger that results slowly festers until it becomes uncontrollable rage. This rage has a short fuse and makes us feel trapped. The 12 Step program (AA, Alanon, NA, NicA, OA, CoDA, SLAA, SCOPE etc.) helps us to learn how to handle our feelings once we stop medicating them with substances and processes. This means identifying the problem, expressing it appropriately and then being able to walk away without being attached to the outcome. That process gives us an amazing sense of peace – serenity.

she came into the relationship as a calm woman
but the years took their toll on her
her temper reached a point when in a rage
she took off her glasses and threw them on the
carpeted floor, smashing to smithereens which
made her realise with what physical power
she had thrown them, and this frightened her
after attending Alanon for several weeks
she found her serenity again and
no one or nothing could ever make her
loose her temper again
whenever she got angry she firmly
expressed that feeling and people
knew she meant it, without a doubt
and that’s all she needed to let go of it

90 meetings in 90 days

Chairs 1, photo by Anka Draganski,  London United Kingdom, http://www.fofiles.co.uk, 12 Step meetingsRegardless of which addiction we are afflicted with, a trusted and true recovery method has been to go to 90 meetings in 90 days with a willingness to abstain. Just getting to sit in 12 Step meetings, until the message gets through to your subconscious, is the key. As you sit with the feelings that were the reason you needed to self medicate, you own them as being your feelings which releases the fear about them, then you can relax. Relaxation brings us peace in our inner turmoil. The other powerful influence of attending meetings is that when we identify with others’ experiences they model solutions for us and “monkey see monkey do”. If we don’t do 90 in 90 then at least 3 meetings a week are absolutely necessary.

he told his therapist that he was
really pissed off with her because she
set homework for him to attend
7 meetings a week with other tasks
such as writing, reading, walking and
affirmations on a daily basis
a therapist himself, he felt he lived
the program and 1 meeting a week
would be sufficient, however
he surrendered and was amazed
that this meant he had needed to
let go of the control that had been
ruining his recovery
and it worked
a proven remedy