Prayer diary for 16 days of about gender-based violence (GBV) 2019: from awareness to accountability
GBV refers to violence or harassment directed at a person based on gender, or that disproportionately affects people of a particular gender. Violence is considered gender-based if it arises from power imbalances between men and women or if it has the intention to punish based on preconceived notions of what the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity should be. GBV applies to any gender, although women, girls, transgender people, and gender non-conforming people are the primary targets of such violence, and the perpetrators are overwhelmingly men.
16 days Toolkit from 16dayscampaign.org
International day against violence against women. While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable – for instance, young girls and older women, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those living through humanitarian crises.
Heavenly Father, you hate all kinds of violence, look with mercy on all those who suffer physical or psychological abuse because of their gender. May they know that you are their strength and comfort. Amen
An estimated 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives.
Father, we ask for healing of memories for those who have experienced gender-based violence in the past; and for those still trapped in an abusive situation, a way to be free. Amen
New International Labour Organisation adopted ‘Violence and harassment’ Convention (C190) in June this year; it calls for greater action to end violence in the workplace for women and men.
Please pray for countries around the world to ratify (ie adopt) this convention, and for all people currently being sexually harassed or physically abused at work.
Slavery. 46 million people are estimated to be in slavery today. Sexual and labour exploitation are the two most common forms of slavery, usually keeping the victim in bondage through violence and psychological abuse. Debt bondage is also rife, coupled with threats of harm to their families if they don’t ‘behave’.
Jesus Christ, who died to set people free, have mercy on all those who have no choice but to do their captors’ bidding. Grant them the courage and ability to escape their current situation. Amen
Domestic workers. UN Women estimates that 1 in every 25 women workers around the world are employed in domestic work. They are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and lack of legal protections. Much is not registered, regulated or protected by existing legal or regulatory frameworks, and sexual harassment, violence or threats of violence are common in these conditions.
Please pray that domestic workers’ employers will come to appreciate all that their workers do, and respect the promises they made when offering employment, such as good pay or education, fixed working hours and a respected place in the family.
Service industries. From nail bars to brothels, hand car washes to farmers’ fields, many workers are in fact slaves, often subject to violence and abuse from their minders.
Heavenly Father, help us to be more aware of those we come across day by day; to be aware that they might be trapped in abusive conditions, to be aware that our purchases may be encouraging slavery somewhere in the world, and to take action where and when we can. Amen
Progress is being made as women’s status is raised – often through better education which leads to their being more productive economically. Many of Mothers’ Union Finance and Literary programme participants report that their husbands respect them more and beat them less now that they can bring money into the family.
Pray for the development programmes that Mothers’ Union undertake throughout the world, and for these to impact on gender equality and reduce violence towards women.
Fashion. ‘Sweat shop’ workers are particularly vulnerable to violence, especially women workers, due to the intersection of their gender and their precarious working conditions.
Lord God, we thank you that many fashion houses are now inspecting factory premises before entering into a contract with manufacturers, and pray that pressure from customers will encourage others to follow suit. Amen
Media. 1 in every 2 women journalists have suffered some form of sexual harassment, psychological abuse, online trolling, and other forms of abuse while working. They are often at greater risk of being targeted not only for their reporting, but also because of their gender, and the abuse includes threats of sexual violence.
Lord, you are our strength and shield, a mighty protector and champion of those who seek justice and peace, we thank you for all those who value fairness and seek to expose injustice through their work in the media. Protect them from violence and grant them boldness as they research facts which uncover breaches of human rights. Amen
Politics. While the number of women in parliament continues to rise globally, albeit slowly, women also face increased violence and harassment. This negatively impacts their health and their performance and ultimately dissuades them from running for election, or even pushes them to leave office prematurely. In a research report published in 2016, 1 in 4 of the 123 MPs interviewed in Europe reported sexual violence in the course of their work, 1 in 8 had experienced physical violence.
Pray that women MPs support one another and together fight prejudice within parliaments and lack of respect from the public. Remember those who do feel intimidated and those whose families have been threatened.
Gay and Transgender issues. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people can face violence motivated by hateful attitudes towards their sexuality or gender identity. In some countries violence may be executed by the state, as in laws prescribing corporal punishment for homosexual acts, or, globally by individuals engaging in intimidation, mobbing, assault, or lynching. Violence targeted at people because of their perceived sexuality can be psychological or physical and can extend to murder. A spate of violence against trans people claimed the lives of at least 369 individuals between October 2017 and September 2018.
Merciful Father, grant that people will show acceptance, mercy and tolerance to those whose gender orientation is different from their own. Amen
Agriculture. Whether a dominant part of the agricultural workforce or a minority, female farmworkers in all nations experience exploitation and abuse in some form due to the low visibility of the work, power imbalances, and the lack of sufficient legislation. Perpetrators of violence are not always supervisors but colleagues and middlemen.
Employers are often under stress from retailers wanting ever-lower prices due to our expecting our food to be cheap, but we pray that this does not lead to abuse and violence towards their workforce. Also pray that our country’s laws about seasonal labour are effectively enforced so that employers will know the standards they must adhere to.
Female Genital Mutilation (Cutting).200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM).
Creator God, you have made us male and female, and delight in the differences between them that you decreed. Grant success to those who are working to raise awareness of the serious complications that can occur from FGM, and to change attitudes that make mothers subject their daughters to this abuse. Amen
Perpetrators. There must be reasons behind a person becoming a perpetrator of violence, most frequently that they have experienced it themselves. Sometimes people are coerced into being violent because of threats, debts or addictions that put them under another’s influence.
Pray about the people who inflict hurt on others. As well as bringing them to justice, let us as Christians pray that God’s love will show them a better way and enable them to change.
Societal attitudes. Violence against women is as serious a cause of death and incapacity among women of reproductive age as cancer, and a greater cause of ill health than traffic accidents and malaria combined. Raising awareness of such facts can help to shift societies’ attitudes that belittle their suffering because they are women.
Compassionate Lord, we confess how difficult it is to notice how our attitudes affect our daily encounters. By your grace may any harsh and discriminatory attitudes in ourselves be transformed by your love, so that we can stand by those who suffer without prejudice, pride or self-serving. By your grace, may we live as shining examples of your acceptance of and love for all people. Amen
International Human Rights Day: We can make a difference; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948. We need to stand up for our own rights and those of others. We can take action in our own daily lives, to uphold the rights that protect us all and thereby promote the kinship of all human beings.
Give thanks that the majority of people respect others and hate violence. Continue to pray for equality, justice and dignity to become the norm, especially towards women.
We offer up these prayers as a sign of our solidarity with all who are affected by gender-based violence and as a sign of our unity with all who campaign for justice across the world. Amen Mothers’ Union Global Act of Solidarity, 2018
Thank you for praying with millions of others these 16 days
Information derived from:
Compiled by Mothers’ Union Winchester diocese, 2019