Commission on the Status of Women: A Heart Issue

This past week, March 9th-15th, I had the honor and privilege to attend the CSW at the United Nations.

Background of CSW

Beginning in the year 2000 the members of the United Nations gathered to discuss how to continue into the new millennium building a peaceful and equatable future for people all over the world. Developed was the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDG). These goals are to serve as a guide for all nations to strive for in order to effect change. The changes aspired for were addressing inequalities by developing programs and policies. Although women had taken part in creating the MDG’s; ending violence against women and girls where missing from the MDG development. Therefore, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), established in 1946, took up the role to ensure that gender equality and advancement of women were being addressed in the MDG’s. This is done by a membership committee that includes around 200 national and international non-governmental organizations (NGO) who wish to promote the status of women.

Who I Represented

I was invited to the CSW 58 by Molly White and as a representative of Endeavor Forum. This organization believes in outlawing abortion and their broad aim is to prevent economic forces such as high taxation which is destroying families. They believe the rights and interests of the family must be the cornerstone of economic policy. I also represented Crowns of Hope which I am the founder. Crowns of Hope helps females who struggle with the effects of sexual abuse afford counseling. But, first and foremost, I came to the United Nations as a representative for God because without Him I would not be who I am today.

What Was Accomplished at the United Nations

With me was a team of many women who raised their own funds and spent their own money to attend this conference. Our mission was to meet delegates and ambassadors to offer our help, knowledge and resources which could better protect pregnant and also trafficked women. On our last day we held a parallel event which brought awareness of violence that is happening to pregnant women around the world and healing solutions for women who suffered from this kind of trauma.  It was an honor and a privilege to have personal meetings with delegates and ambassadors from Bulgaria, Portugal, Hungary, and Slovakia. We also had divine appointments, meaning we met in hallways and in various meetings, with delegates, ambassadors, and NGO presidents from Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan, Mongolia, Canada, Bangladesh, Mexico, Sweden, India and many more. We were able to offer aftercare solutions  for working with women who suffer from all kinds of trauma. We gave information on prevention ideas to reach the children and adults of their nation. Most importantly, we made connections on an emotional heart felt level with these women and a few men leaders.

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Our parallel event had a packed audience.  Our meeting was so full that people where lining up along the walls and sitting in the isle on the floor. We began with a wonderful powerful speaker, Reggie Littlejohn, who is the president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. Her organization is an international coalition that opposes forced abortion and sexual slavery in China. Her presentation was on forced abortion in China and the one child policy. It was powerful and heartbreaking. The violence that pregnant women endure in China is unimaginable.  Click here to watch this 4 minute video about China’s one child policy. 

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Vinita Shaw was the second speaker at the event. She is from India and spoke on the problems of gender selection and forced abortion in India. She showed a powerful presentation on the hurts that Indian women are suffering from. Vinita is the author of Unveiled. Her powerful book explains, through short stories, the mindset that fuels hatred for the girl child in India. You can find a copy of her book on Amazon. Vinita’s organization, the Disha Foundation, sponsors education for disadvantaged children, promotes awareness through a radio and you tube broadcasting show, provides vocational training for women and girls, and is dedicated to the vision of ENCOURAGING and EMPOWERING the economically weaker sections of  the Indian Society.

Crowns Logo smallI, Toni McKinley, was the next speaker at this CSW event. I told my story of forced abortion in the United States. My purpose was to bring awareness that forced abortion is happening in the land of the free where choice is suppose to be given, according to the law, to each woman and girl in our country. You may read my story here.  I speak as much as I am asked to spread awareness to women and to let others know that they are not the only one who has experienced a forced abortion in America. Many of my engagements have been recorded and you may listen and watch them at this link. I also have a passion to help women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually abused. Read more about my nonprofit, Crowns of Hope, to find out how you can join me in healing women.

Our final speaker wrapped up the meeting speaking about aftercare for women who have been forced to abort their child. Millie Lace is the founder of the National Helpline for Abortion Recovery. She is also the founder of Concepts of Truth which is a non-profit professional counseling center based in Arkansas. She is a licensed professional counselor and spoke about the effects of forced abortion on women and what resources are available to help those who want healing.helpabortion

My Summary on the CSW 58

I attended several side and parallel events during my week at the United Nations. These meetings discussed the successes and improvements still needed on gender equality and violence against women. Many of the events I attended were about trafficking of girls, reproductive health and rights of women, domestic violence, early marriage practices, unplanned pregnancies, empowering women, and women leaders of change. I heard a recurring solution in every meeting I attended that was bothersome for me. This solution was to increase government regulations and rules. I feel that government regulations and rules can be good but it is not the end all solution. There is another solution that I have seen work yet it was not discussed in the meetings I attended. This solution is the transformation of hearts and mind sets. I believe that this was not discussed because government cannot regulate or create laws to change the hearts of people. Yet, until this happens, there will not be gender equality. There will always be violence against women. The homicide rate for pregnant women will always be high. The number of women and girls trafficked will always be apart of every country. Domestic violence will always be happening in homes around the world. Women and girls will continue to be coerced and forced into abortion. Laws and regulations can only help so much to protect women and girls.

Part of me felt that the CSW was a waste of time. “We need more regulation. We need this law. We need that law. We need to incarcerate more perpetrators.” How long will we have to regulate the sins of man and woman? Will we be able to govern every action that hurts another and be successful? Is it worth it to meet year after year to discuss what laws curbed violence and what laws need to be created to continue curbing violence?  There were at least 1000 women attending his event at the United Nations. It is around $200 per night and more to stay in New York City. Cab rides are from $10 – $15 one way. Food is at least $40 per day at the very least. An airplane ticket is a minimum $500 – over $1000 depending on what country you are flying in from. All this is spent to discuss violence against women to come up with the same resolution year after year which is more government regulations.

When are we going to get to the heart of the issue?

When will we decide to discover why husbands beat their wife’s? When will we decide to discover why men buy women and girls for sex? When will we stop de-moralizing men by saying things such as, “Women Rule” and really focus on equality? When will we decide to discover why men and women are drawn to music that prides itself in calling women hoe’s and prides itself in being a pimp? When will we discover why others molest and rape girls and boys? When will we take time to discover why, and then work on the hearts of girls, boys, men, and women? Violence against women is a heart issue. People need help. Not a single man or women said when they were young, “I want to grow up to traffick women and girls.” Not a single women said as a girl, “I want to sell myself for sex when I am older.” No boy has ever said, “When I grow up I want to beat my wife.”

I propose that the next Commission on the Status of Women focus on the heart of the matter. We need to heal the people in the whole world. We are a sick world who needs a heart restoration. Let’s talk about how we as nations can come together, collaborate and discuss healing the wounds that the “John’s” are holding inside. Let’s talk about how to heal the wounds of a man who was molested and now struggles with temptation to hurt other young girls and boys. Let’s talk about reaching the hearts of men who beat their wife’s while we work on restoring the dignity to the wife’s who where beaten. Let’s teach others how to be happy with who they are so they can be content with themselves and what they have. Let’s work on being a blessing to each other instead of trying to always take for ourselves even when we have less. Let’s talk about how the hearts of women who are trafficked and sold can be restored to be great leaders, mothers, daughters, and sisters. This, the heart, is the center and focal point of the status of women.

You want to to increase the status of women?

Then lets increase the status of the nations hearts!

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Disclaimer: The people, countries, NGO’s, CSW, ambassadors, or delegates mentioned in this article do not endorse the views written in this article. 

No Respect for Men

Lone-SurvivorBefore I begin I want you to know a few things about my husband and I. We have four kids and have been married for 21 years. He works very hard for our family and I know that he will do anything to keep us from living on the streets. However, we have not always communicated well with each other. Growing up with so much dysfunction and abuse I have a difficult time trusting men. My husband also grew up in a very dysfunctional family. Put us both together and we become two very hard working people who hurt each other because of our skill-less communication, hurtful choice of words, and harmful actions we carried into our marriage. 

I have little to no respect for men.

Sure, I respect the fact that my husband is a hard worker and that he cares enough about us to keep supporting his family. But it is different from having full out total respect for him as a man. Because of my lack of respect I isolate, I do not share my feelings, and do not always trust his wisdom. This is something I want to change and have been working on as I try to trust my husband more. He and I  have changed many of our dysfunctional ways over the years.  I strive to acknowledge that and want to begin to trust and respect him more.

But how do you do that?

My habits of un-trust are automatic, unconscious at times, and they feel safe to me. It takes conscious mindful work to not resort to my old ways! It is too easy at the end of the day when my husband comes home from  work to just be who I have been all these past years. By 6 or 7 at night I just want to be. I don’t want to think. I want to act how I want and be forgiven without even being spoken to. I want to continue with my distrust and respect because I am tired. I also have been looking for absolute perfection from my husband in the way he treats me.

Back to my point.

Last night, we went to the movies and saw Lone Survivor. If you haven’t seen the previews, it is about some military men who fought in Afghanistan and became stranded. They go through tremendous pain and effort to stay alive and not all of them make it out alive. It is based on a true story and they show the real people who experienced this at the end of the movie.

I cried!!

Actual men movie was made after.

Actual men movie was made after.

These men had the most courageous stamina, they were dedicated, they stuck to their morals, they did everything within their power to help each other, protect each other, and they sacrificed for each other. They respected hard decisions and fought with everything they had. They took torturous after torturous blows and kept going. I have never saw so much courage and sacrifice from one human being to another.

During the movie God spoke to me. He said,

“This is how I made men. They have a desire and an instinct to fight for you. They were born to respect, honor, and protect. Your husband has this inside of him. He is like these men. Sin tried to corrupt what I made but what I made is still inside each and every man. These men you watched here tonight are in each man that I created. So you want to see that? Then be the women I created you to be. It is inside you! Respect, honor, love, and forgive is all you need to begin to see the wisdom, love, gentleness, courageous, and protection that I made in each and every man.”

Since last night, I see men a lot differently. I’ll never look at them the same way again. No matter how they portray themselves I know what they are capable of. I need that in a man. My daughters need that in a man. My sons need that in a man. They have that instinct inside of them and need to be treated/raised to act on those and taught to deny the lies the enemy may tell them about themselves.

I no longer have “no respect for men.”  I am encouraged. I am blessed. I am excited to be the wife that my husband deserves. I know that God will reinforce those qualities he gave him if I also do my part in being the woman he created me to be.

Men

Denounce the lies you have believed about yourself and trust how God created you to be.

Women

Take a step of faith and trust more in the man God put in your life and have the courage to believe what God believes about men.

My Word for this Year

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CALL

I never thought of having a word for the year but I keep on hearing it over and over from others. I’ve read about people choosing the word faith, peace, joy, and other encouraging words. As I sat in church service today my favorite song began playing. This song is Oceans by Hillsong. The lyrics begin with,

“You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine”

I have had a sense that in this coming year I will be called to places and put in positions that will require me to call upon the Lord for His strength and courage. I want to be called into places that are unknown to me to serve my Heavenly Father. I want to be called beyond my borders where my faith will be made stronger. The song goes onto say,

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

                                                                                 My Word for this year ….

CALL

Good News in the New Year

“For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.”

Hebrews 4:2

The Good News: Jesus loves you and died for you. Do you know anyone else who has died for you? Someone who literally chose death to in order to save you personally? He took all the sins he knew you would commit and the ones to come that you have not committed yet and he did that so you would not have to live in the most desolate, hateful, miserable place for eternity; hell.

This News Came to You and to Them: This Good News is for everyone. It doesn’t matter what sin you have committed: adultery, substance abuse, lying, steeling, cheating, vandalism, gossip, etc. This message is for those who think they are generally goo and for those who know they are bad.

Do you Hear the news? Everyone in our culture today says we need to be open minded. Are you one who isn’t hearing it? Isn’t getting it? Let’s have a “what if” moment. Take a moment to imagine “if” this good news was true then how can it benefit you? What if hell is real? Does it hurt to at least explore this good news further instead of writing it off?

Faith: What is faith? I like Life Hope and Truth’s definition of faith. They explain it as, “Faith is the substance or assurance of things we hope for, but have not yet received. Faith (confidence, belief, trust) is also our evidence of that which is not seen—the invisible spiritual things. Faith comes before a prayer is answered or before an individual has received what he or she has requested from God. If we have received what we asked for, then faith is not needed.”

Take time this New Year to explore the Good News. Find out more about the faith it takes in order to receive the benefits that are waiting for you.

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Preparing for the Coming Year: 2014

I learn so much when I attend church. Each sermon I am able to apply to my life in some form or fashion.  As I sat and listened today I was continually reminded of what is to come in the year 2014.  I keep feeling a sense of urgency that this new year will be critical, difficult, inspiring, and joyous. I await it with anticipation each time the Spirit speaks to my soul while I continue to prepare for whatever may come my way.  winter

In today’s sermon I was presented with the question, “Are you prepared spiritually for the winter?” The winter is a time where the growth of plants and food needed for survival stop. They rest and then bring new buds, new fruit, new energy when the warmth arrives in the spring. I began to ponder, “Am I ready for a winter? Have I trusted God enough to trust Him through the dry spells, the down sides of life, the heartaches that may come my way?” Whatever may come will arrive whether I am ready or not.

In order to be ready for these times I must understand my weaknesses in order to prepare for those hard times ahead. Am I keeping myself accountable or hiding in my sin? Do I fellowship with my circle of friends who will support me when I am in need or am I isolating? Am I spending time praising God and praying for His guidance or am I acting on my own will and desires? These are my weaknesses. This is what I need to keep on my spiritual radar and work on continually.

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So I ask you today, “Are you prepared spiritually for the winter? If not, what weaknesses do you need to understand about yourself to prepare for the coming year?”

Use me Up… Consume Me

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Consume = to use up

Today, standing during worship I sang the words “consume me from the inside out. “

I began wondering what that means and what would it be like if I

actually allowed God to consume me from the inside out!

As soon as I made it back home I looked up the definition of consume. I looked this up because I want the most from God. I want everything he has in store for me.

I do not want to sit in church every Sunday, sing the songs, listen to the sermon, smile at the people around me and then go home and forget about it all.

What a waste church would be each and every week! What is the point? As soon as I get to heaven Jesus is going to look at me and see an immature baby Christian! When I see Jesus I want to run into his arms as he swirls me around and tell me how proud he is of me! I don’t want a pat on the head as he says smiling, “Nice try Toni!” What a disappointment that would be;to stand in front of Jesus knowing I did not do my best.

I literally want God to consume me from the inside out just as the song meant when I sang it today. I want him to use me up..all of me while I am here on this earth to represent Him! I want his light and glory to shine through me every day through the good and the bad! I want others to know Him because His light radiated to them because of His consumption of my soul! I want Him to fill me up so I can be strong in every trial!

What about you? Are you going to continue living day by day, week by week, forgetting the words you sing at church… forgetting the words you hear from your church sermons… not taking anything God says very seriously?

OR

Are you going to actually ALLOW God to consume you from the inside out?!