Family Domestic Violence
The Revd Bec Bydder, Member of the Family and Domestic Violence Working Group
The 16 Days campaign highlights the ongoing scourge of gender-based violence, especially in family and domestic relationships. It runs from 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) until 10 December (Human Rights Day).
It can be easy to be overwhelmed or jaded by the ever-growing trend of themed days, weeks and months. There are days that are fun and silly, and there are days for deserving causes, especially ones that are close to our heart. Whether they are fun and/or fund raising opportunities, they crowd the calendar and fight for our attention.
These 16 Days need our attention. During these 16 Days - and every 16 days - Australia will see another three people die due to family domestic violence.
This violence may take one or more forms - physical, verbal, financial, emotional and spiritual. It doesn’t discriminate by age, relationship or gender; though women and children are sadly overrepresented.
While you may have not experienced this violence yourself, you will know someone - whether disclosed, denied or hidden - who has experienced it. It is not a new issue, although its being recognised as a specific category of crime is relatively new.
It will take time to reduce the prevalence of this violence. It will take time for awareness and understanding to grow so that initial behaviours of concern can be recognised and addressed.
It will take time for this violence to become unacceptable throughout our community so that it is the perpetrator, rather than their victim, who fears the violence being discovered.
As a community of the faith filled and faithful, we are called to notice what life looks like for all of God’s people, and to be a voice for those who are silenced. We are called to shine a light into the places of darkness that shield and protect sin.
The Family Domestic Violence Working Group was established by Diocesan Council following Synod 2022. We have spent this first year establishing localised priorities and responses while joining the National Church voices on this issue.
We as a group are responding to the call to shine the light of Christ into the darkness of family domestic violence. Please help us to shine that light over the upcoming 16 Days. Our webpage will have services, events and resources to help you play your part in this vital campaign.