Mothers’ Union is participating, once again, in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. This global campaign raises international awareness of violence against women and girls (VAWG) each year, from 25th November to 10th December. 16 Days is an opportunity to show solidarity against gender-based violence; and provides a platform for individuals and organisations to highlight their work and speak out against VAWG.
What can I do?
You could get involved during the 16 days of activism, that spans the days between November 25th, the International Day Against Violence Against Women, and 10th December, International Human Rights Day.
Here’s some ideas:
“Come and Join us for A Silent Prayer Vigil outside Winchester Cathedral On Wednesday25th November from 12noon – 2.00pm
Be part of this silent witness against Gender Violence. Join the vigil for the time you can spare. It may be for a few minutes or the full two hours. There is also an opportunity to say prayers in the Epiphany Chapel. Someone will be available to talk with people who may need help or have concerns about Gender Violence. If you cannot join the witness please pray for people affected by Gender Violence during the 16 days from 25th November to 10th December.” Stella Roberts (President)
PRAY For help for the victims, for a change of heart and attitude in those who abuse others, for governments to be effective in reducing violence against women.
Publicise the UK National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247, perhaps by getting permission to put up posters in the ladies loos at your church or place of work.
Download the Silent Vigil poster here 16 Days
Download the prayer card here 16 Days Prayer Card
Violence against women and girls is any act of violence that results in harm, suffering or indignity to women. Violence is ‘gender-based’ when it is directed against a woman because she is a woman, or when it affects women disproportionately. It can include physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse; harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM); and mass acts of violence such as rape by combatants in war. It is estimated that between 23 to 37 per cent of women across the world experience violence, and it happens regardless of class, race, religion or age.
We believe that any culture of violence against one another, whether physical or emotional, is a distortion of relationships as originally intended; equality and respect in the sight of God. We build our work on God’s command: to love our neighbour as ourselves. Where this is followed there will be no place for violence against anyone, particularly women and girl. Across the world, Mothers’ Union members work to challenge attitudes in relationships that contribute to gender-based violence; raise awareness; support victims and survivors of VAWG; and campaign to end violence.
The Mothers’ Union has been tackling the issue in a number of ways:
Often violence is used against women, and accepted by women, when ‘It’s just the way things are.’ It often stems from a devaluing of women, or the need to show them who’s Boss. The Mothers’ Union has been working in several African countries to promote literary, business and farming skills amongst women, and these have proved to have increased husbands’ respect for their wives with the added effect of reducing physical abuse!
Giving Support. In the UK, many Mothers’ Union supporters give toiletries and other practical items to women’s refuges.
Raising Awareness. The Mothers’ Union campaigns to end violence against women, and sends a delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women that meets annually. This year it lobbied successfully for a strong statement to governments on making or effectively enforcing laws to protect women and bring abusers to justice.
Learn more about this issue by visiting the ‘Restored’ website.
Can I share what I do?
It would be great to see what our supporters do during the 16 days of Activism. You can visit the Central Mothers’ Union and tweet or use the Facebook pages, share with others in your branch, churches and community.
An excerpt from the Agreed Conclusion of the United Nations Commission on Women with regard to this subject can be found here.