by Garrett Braaf, Diocese of Southeast Florida
So I arrive in the morning of February 26. As I got settled into my room, a question suddenly hit me like a freight train: WHY IN THE WORLD AM I HERE?
A wave of fear and disappointment swept over me as I pondered my answer. I knew NOTHING about the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women! Sure, I felt honored to be chosen as a Young Adult Delegate along with some other young adults that had very impressive backgrounds. But honestly, I felt immensely intimidated and amazingly unprepared. "What is my place in an event with a predominately female attendance? Are of any of the other delegates going to like me?" These were just a few questions that were looming around in my mind.
My intimidation was quickly dissipated when I began getting to know the other delegates. I already was acquainted with Keiji and P’Tricia from meeting them at the Young Adult Festival at General Convention in California last July. Everyone else I met for the first time and as time progressed, I became friends with everyone. They were all very cool people to vibe with. We were all able to joke around with each other and yet also knew when it was time to be serious and supportive of eachother.
I learned a lot of startling facts about issues concerning women in the faith such as violence against women, women’s rights as decision makers, incorporating women in all their economic, social and racial diversity, etc.
The majority of the time spent here with the delegation was that of a self-discovery process. I spent lots of time in self-reflection, asking myself, "What role could I possibly play in this entire 'women's-status' movement?"
I DID however found myself leaning towards the standing up against violence towards women. I have a loving mother, an amazing grandmother, 2 wonderful younger sisters and a number of Aunts and I will go the distance to ensure that they NEVER have to face that kind of treatment and therefore I do emphasize for the women that they currently face this in their lives.
Then it hit me. I realized that as a male, I can step up and address my fellow men on what steps to take towards ending impunity and violence against women. Furthermore, in doing so, I can stand in the forefront as an example of how men should treat women.