Advocacy: 16 Days of Activism
Against Gender-Based Violence
Advocacy: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
By Peregrin Campbell-Osgood | Project Officer, Advocacy Commissions
Every November for the last 30 years the international community has held the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. It begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. Our Western Australian Government has
promoted this campaign since 2017.
As Christians we lament that such day, and such a campaign exists. All people, of all genders, are made in the image of God and loved by God, and we are called to love as God loves. And yet, as made clear by the recent National Anglican Family Violence Research Report, the prevalence of ‘intimate partner violence among Anglicans was the same or higher than in the wider Australian community’. Women suffered this abuse more than men, and worryingly ‘most Anglican victims of domestic violence did not seek help from Anglican churches.’
This systematic problem in our church and wider community can only be addressed by facing it clearly. We need to acknowledge our part in creating a church culture that allows gender-based abuse to occur. We then need to create and re-create constantly a living biblical theology of equality and love which is expressed in action. The WA 16 Days of Action this year also calls us to action, to speak out, to not be silent when we witness gender-based abuse: ‘don’t be silent when you see violence’.
As our Fourth Mark of Anglican Mission states, it is our baptismal duty to ‘challenge violence of every kind’. Gender-based violence is often masked, and often begins, with disrespect or disparaging remarks or comments, or objectification. Every gender-based slur, even when coached as a joke, is still violence.
The Social Responsibilities Commission, along with the Church of the Ascension in Midland, is holding a ‘A service of listening and a call for action to end Gender- Based Violence’ on Wednesday 24 November 2021 at 7.00pm. This will be an ecumenical vigil to prepare for the International Day and 16 Days Campaign. Rebecca Bydder, SRC Commissioner and Ecumenical Chaplain at Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison will give the address. Everyone is invited to come, listen and act.
The Standing Committee of the Anglican Church of Australia has made 10 Commitments to prevent and respond to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)