A Passion for Peace

Responsibility, respect and a loving connection with all beings and for this Earth we share.

The Power of Empowerment

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill of 2010, which has been front page news since July (and I'm mentioned in a fore-running article here), has reached an intense debate recently on the age of consensual sex. The basic idea is not to charge an 18-year-old with rape for having consensual sex with his/her 16-year-old boy/girlfriend. The debate is about the age at which children can consent, culminating into sensation headlines like 'Non-penetrative Sex Ok for 12-year-olds, Bill Says.' To be clear, the minimum age was 14 in the draft we worked on, and the definition of 'young child' was under 12, meaning if a child is abused below that age, the offender faces increased sentencing. Agreement is building to use 16 as the minimum age allowable for consent. (Photo: colony of gulls on a bright green pond I've been cycling past in my daily commute)

My thoughts on this are similar regarding the recent activity in Egypt: the immediate outcome--whether the age of consent is 14 or 16, or whether a conservative Muslim government is voted in--is less important to me than public and open debate and interest in politics and governance, and general ownership of and participation in a fair process. (I realise Egypt's turmoil worries Israel. The Wikileaks-revealed Israeli strategy to leave Palestine on the brink of collapse is not endearing, though to say Iran is strategising to create another Gaza in Egypt seems overly alarmist.) In any case, India & Egypt, I'm impressed and excited to see how you sort it out. As James Bryant Conant said, "Behold the turtle: he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out." (And I'll add, he ensures he's at home wherever he goes. Admirable, indeed.) 

In local news, besides the barrage of rain and resulting flooding from the cyclone which filled my boots and showered me as I walked home last night, it's been an inspiring week. I'm devoting myself full-time to the clergy sex abuse project, with much positive progress, and enjoying facilitating and circulating energy during meetings, and embedding restorative justice practices into all aspects of our work, including an amazing restorative guided healing conversation circle on Friday. Empowering in a safe space to promote communication and collaborate to heal--restorative circles are a magical process, and I feel honoured every time I lead one. This whole settling-in-by-February theory appears to be true: I've just been hired as a short-term consultant to prepare a comment on a proposed Australian law on forced and servile marriage for a local NGO. And tomorrow a friend and I move into a new place where I plan to unpack for the first time since August. (I just have to find some crates or drawers to unpack my stuff into, haha.) The new house is a unique space: a converted fire station closer to the city, and everyone from friends' parents to my boss are kindly pooling together to lend me furniture and supplies, affirming yet again (as if I needed it) that people are good. Or better than good, even. (Photo: You know you're in Australia when...)

Australia when...Here's to inner peace outwardly manifesting into a supremely scrumptious existence for us all! And to the positive potential of meditation: If there is to be any peace, it will come through being, not having (Henry Miller). (Photo: local graffiti

Posted byValerie at 1:20 PM  


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