Anglicans worldwide keep working to end gender violence

Anglicans everywhere have been speaking out against gender-based violence (Geraldine Fiagoy, Episcopal Church in the Philippines)Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS


No. Enough. Stop. Never.*

The annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence have now drawn to a close, but many Anglicans look set to continue the year-round work that’s needed to end one of the world’s deepest injustices.

“The 16 Days are a bitter-sweet affair” said the Revd Terrie Robinson, Director for Women in Church & Society at the Anglican Communion Office. “On the one hand we hear devastating stories from around the world and are reminded of the pandemic nature of violence against women and girls. On the other, we are hugely encouraged by the number of churches and individual Anglican men and women who are now getting to grips with the issue and doing the work that’s needed to end and prevent gender based violence.”

The 16 Days of Activism begin each year on 25 November and end on 10 December. This year, more church leaders have used the 16 Days to speak out and encourage their dioceses and parishes to engage with the reality of violence against women in their midst and work for transformation.

Archbishop Francisco da Silva, Primate of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, made a statement reiterating his Province’s commitment to confront violence against women and citing Jesus’ example of welcome, respect, listening and affirmation of human dignity.

In the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Bishop of Natal made a 16 Days statement pointing out that South Africa has the highest incidence of rape of any country in the world that is not at war. According to Bishop Rubin Phillip, this situation “can only happen in a social context where gender based violence is condoned, or even promoted. Many aspects of our modern society do this, from TVs and computer games, to social assumptions and teachings about what makes a ‘real man’ – aggressive, non-emotional, uncaring and risk-taking”. He continued “…we as churches have enormous power to contribute to ending gender based violence. Jesus sets a beautiful example of the way men should relate to women and children, and the church’s long history of pastoral care plays a big part in its ministry to victims of violence.”

In Canada, the Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald, and National Bishop Susan Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada co-signed a letter to their churches calling on Anglicans and Lutherans to recite publicly the solemn promise to “never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women”.

Every priest, archdeacon, bishop and office holder in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, Australia, along with their Archbishop, co-signed a Declaration against Violence against Women with the heading ‘Anglican parishes, chaplaincies & agencies taking responsibility’.

In the Video ‘The 16 Days: Anglican Men Speak Out!’ Anglican men from Polynesia, Japan, Wales, USA, Chile, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Canada and Australia stood in solidarity with women to challenge all churches to provide safe space for victims and survivors of violence and pay attention to biblical texts that encourage the empowerment and participation of women.

The video has been shown at events and during Services and been a catalyst for discussion. In Scotland, for example, it was shown at the start of a conference organised by International Anglican Women’s Network steering group member Elaine Cameron with the local Mothers’ Union which brought together speakers from the church, the local Police division and White Ribbon Scotland.

In different parts of the world resources have been developed to help Anglicans and their partners to raise awareness of gender based violence during the 16 Days and to draw the theme of just relationship and the voices of survivors into Bible studies, prayer and liturgies. Many of these have been signposted on-line by the International Anglican Women’s Network, the Anglican Alliance, and the We Will Speak Out coalition to end sexual violence.

Local contexts have shaped resources. In Fiji, the House of Sarah, a project of the Association of Anglican Women working to build equal and respectful relationships within Fiji’s families, churches, schools and communities, posted resources for the 16 Days in local languages on its website.

The Anglican Church of Rwanda developed a liturgy for all its churches to use on Sunday 7 December with a focus on tackling gender-based violence.

Members of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and its full communion partner the Iglesia Filipina Independiente joined other Christians in a Bible study and held a public candle-lit demonstration against the killing by the military of a woman engineer working on community projects.

The Mothers’ Union reports that it has been overwhelmed by the amount of support its members have given to the 16 Days of activism, many making good use of the MU’s new Activist’s pack for the Sixteen Days . In the Anglican Church of Burundi, for example, the Mothers’ Union in the Diocese of Gitega presented awards to members of its literacy programmes who have done outstanding work in tackling gender-based violence.

“These are just some of the 16 Days activities and resources that are out there in the Anglican Communion” said Mrs Robinson. “We need to keep talking about gender-based violence, whether it’s against women and girls or against men and boys. We need to listen to those who are victims and survivors of such violence. And we need to keep praying and discerning how our Christian faith can transform us as individuals and as communities so that we can live in relationships that empower all to flourish and become the people God longs them to be.”

*Line from a poem ‘A crack, a slap, a painful plea’ written by the Rt Revd Laura J Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan, The Episcopal Church in Connecticut. See

Photo: Anglicans everywhere have been speaking out against gender-based violence (Geraldine Fiagoy, Episcopal Church in the Philippines)

Source: Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS:

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