Asian Conference Laments Exploitation of Women


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HONG KONG, JUNE 17, 2010 ( The East Asia Bishops' Institute on Lay Apostolate is highlighting the need for more help for victims of sexual harassment and human trafficking, as well as more awareness of how society exploits the woman's sexuality.

The recommendations come at the end of the institute's May conference on the woman, co-organized by the Office of Laity and Family of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences and Taiwan's episcopal conference.

The conference, which took place in the Diocese of Hsinchu, Taiwan, had as its theme "Mary, Truly A Woman of Our Times."

The meeting drew over 100 participants from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau and Taiwan, the organizers reported, and included laypeople, religious, bishops and priests.

A final statement from the meeting said the gathering took place "to encourage the Church to look at Mary as a woman who lived through many of the trying situations that women experience today, and to encourage them to draw strength and inspiration from her as Mary has a universal message for all Christian disciples today."

The discussions brought participants to "a deeper sensitivity of women's plight and an urgent need for all men and women to follow Mary's model of femininity (recovering the femininity of God), virginity (filled with the Spirit closely following God's Word), and maternity (nurturing life through work for peace and justice)."

In the statement, the institute lamented "the impact of the modern-day work culture on people -- causing stress and conflict in families; resulting in the destruction of the family system, where young women do not want to marry and start a family," and "in the neglect of human dignity seen in the commoditization of the human person in mistreatment of migrant workers, exploitation of women's sexuality in the entertainment and advertising industry, abortion, and human trafficking."

The participants suggested that Asian churches should support victims of sexual harassment as well as create awareness on sexuality in the Church for both men and women; help to restore the sacredness of women's bodies and sexuality from its devaluation in popular culture; and to raise awareness and consciousness of women's issues through the small Christian communities.