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Letters & Op-Eds - 2000

new york times

Violence Against Women

Frances Kissling

13 March 2000

To the Editor:

The readiness of some secular feminist leaders to absolve the world's religions of responsibility for extreme violence against women is painful ("Unicef Is Fighting Violence Against Women," news article, March 9).

The problem with the sacred books and teachings of the world's religions is that they include both texts supporting women's dignity and equality and a view of the world in which men are dominant and women under their control. The mixed messages of these texts cannot be ignored by those who seek to end violence against women.

Unless and until religious leaders speak out unambiguously and unceasingly against these acts, and until women are treated as equals within the world's religions, these atrocities will continue, even grow with the dominance of conservative religion worldwide. And if feminist leaders do not call the world's religions to accountability on this issue, who will?

President Catholics for a Free Choice
New York, March 9, 2000

This letter appeared in the 13 March 2000 edition of the New York Times.