16 Days

16 days of activism against gender based violence

DAY SIXTEEN,

Today is the sixteenth of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and is also Human Rights Day.

Human rights are universal rights that mean that everyone should be treated equally and with respect. People should not be discriminated against because of:

• Gender

• Race

• The colour of their skin

• Sexual orientation

• Religion

• The country in which they were born

Human Rights Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of those who have fought for and protected human rights, as well as a day to reflect on what still needs to be done to make society fairer for everyone.

This year’s Human Rights Day theme EQUALITY – Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights relates to Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

The principles of equality and non-discrimination are at the heart of human rights. This includes addressing and finding solutions for deep-rooted forms of discrimination that have affected the most vulnerable people in societies, including women and girls, indigenous peoples, people of African descent, LGBTI people, migrants and people with disabilities, among others.

Equality, inclusion and non-discrimination, in other words – a human rights-based approach to development – is the best way to reduce inequalities and resume our path towards realising the 2030 Agenda.

Human Rights Day inspires everyone to speak up and take action to end discrimination in all of its forms whenever and wherever it happens.

A HUMAN RIGHTS-BASED ECONOMY CAN BREAK CYCLES OF POVERTY

Rampant poverty, pervasive inequalities and structural discrimination are human rights violations and among the greatest global challenges of our time. Addressing them effectively requires measures grounded in human rights, renewed political commitment and participation of all, especially those most affected. We need a new social contract which more fairly shares power, resources and opportunities and sets the foundations of a sustainable human rights-based economy.

REBUILDING FAIRER: A NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT

Human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights as well as the right to development and the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, are central to building a new human rights-based economy that supports better, fairer and more sustainable societies for present and future generations. A human rights-based economy should be the foundation of a new social contract.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH

Successive financial and health crises have had long-lasting and multidimensional impacts on millions of young people. Unless their rights are protected, including through decent jobs and social protection, the “COVID generation” runs the risk of falling prey to the detrimental effects of mounting inequality and poverty.

REVERSING VACCINE INEQUALITY AND INJUSTICE

Vaccine injustice through unfair vaccine distribution and hoarding contravenes international legal and human rights norms and the spirit of global solidarity. The call for a common agenda and a new social contract between Governments and their people is the need of the hour so as to rebuild trust and to ensure a life of dignity for all.

ADVANCING THE RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE JUSTICE

Environmental degradation, including climate change, pollution and nature loss, disproportionately impacts persons, groups and peoples in vulnerable situations. These impacts exacerbate existing inequalities and negatively affect the human rights of present and future generations. In follow-up to the HRC’s recognition of the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, urgent action must be taken to respect, protect and fulfil this right. Such action should be the cornerstone of a new human rights-based economy that will produce a green recovery from COVID-19 and a just transition.

PREVENTING CONFLICT AND BUILDING RESILIENCE THROUGH EQUALITY, INCLUSION AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Human rights have the power to tackle the root causes of conflict and crisis, by addressing grievances, eliminating inequalities and exclusion and allowing people to participate in decision-making that affect their lives. Societies that protect and promote human rights for everyone are more resilient societies, better equipped through human rights to weather unexpected crises such as pandemics and the impacts of the climate crisis. Equality and non-discrimination are key to prevention: all human rights for all ensure everyone has access to the preventive benefits of human rights but, when certain people or groups are excluded or face discrimination, the inequality will drive the cycle of conflict and crisis.

*Prayers:*

*We pray for the recognition of and respect for the economic, social, and political human rights of all human beings who are all created in the image of God.(Education for Justice)*

*All human life belongs to God.*

*We have been created in the image of God,*

*crowned with dignity and honour.*

*God opposes every action and attitude*

*which devalues human life.*

*Since the beginning of time,*

*God has shown Himself*

*as a shield for the defenceless,*

*caring for the proof and needy,*

*providing for the widow and orphan,*

*comforting the sick and lonely.*

*Spirit of God, use us as Your instruments*

*for justice, peace, and blessing. (Prayer taken from the Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith)*

#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days

DAY FIFTEEN

Today is the fifteenth of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

The global prevalence of digital violence against women, including women who have personally experienced it or witnessed it against other women is 85% (Economist Intelligence Unit)

Just as gender-based violence takes on many insidious forms, so does digital gender-based violence: image-based abuse aka non-consensual sharing of intimate images or “revenge porn”, cyberstalking, online harassment, sextortion, online trafficking, doxxing. The perpetrator could be a stranger on another continent or someone known next door who has weaponized technology and a target’s sexuality against her.

Marginalized groups, including people with disabilities and LGBTQI individuals, may be even more vulnerable.

For survivors and victims of this sexualized abuse there is no distinction between real and virtual. Logging off doesn’t end the terror. The consequences are certainly all too real – fear, panic, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and worse, among others. Our online and offline lives can blur into each other so as to be indistinguishable. Even if and after the violence ends, the scars endure. Survivors may limit Internet use or leave entirely, depriving themselves of community and connection, exploration and discovery, economic opportunity, education and entertainment.

Virtual violence is violence. Online abuse is abuse. Women and girls have the right to feel safe in all spaces, wherever they are.

Like other forms of gender-based violence, this type of abuse is intended to make someone feel alone and powerless. If you have experienced digital gender-based violence, know that you are not alone – you are experiencing what many other women and girls face in this technological age. Talk with trusted friends and family. Don’t allow fear or embarrassment to prevent you from reaching out for help.

As we continue to learn about digital abuse, you may notice both familiar patterns and unique elements. Digital abuse can overlap with behaviours seen offline in other forms of interpersonal violence, such as emotional and verbal abuse. At the same time, the complexities of digital abuse are compounded by additional means of access, manipulation, and exploitation. The lists below compare and contrast digital abuse with other methods of abuse:

Similarities

Rooted in power and control over another person

Often results in victim-blaming

Can cause psychological harm

History of digital abuse spans decades and is not confined to recent uptick in technological advancements

Other forms of abuse are incorporated into abusive tactics (e.g., economic abuse by way of threatening someone’s job)

Sexuality shaming

DifferencesViolation is misunderstood and more widely tolerated

Technology creates additional tactics to abuse(e.g., altering images, doxing)Research is new and limited

Digital abuse can increase the vulnerability of someone who is already in a disadvantaged position Abuse may violate ownership rights if images are shared without permission

DISRUPT DIGITAL VIOLENCE

A virtual world free of violence is possible. UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, supports the right of all women and girls to live without fear of gender-based violence or abuse in all spaces, including online. Everyone plays a role in making this more than a hope but a reality.

Prayer: May the God of Eve teach you to dance. May the God of Hagar bring you comfort in the desert. May the God of Miriam bring companions to you when you struggle. May the God of Deborah teach you courage for your battles. May the Christ who knew Mary and Martha show you the way of balance. May the Christ who healed the bent-over woman heal your pain. May the Christ of Mary Magdala send you out to proclaim your story. In the name of Christ who is the memory, hope and authority of the future.

(Niluka Perera, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Province of

Sri Lanka/Pakistan)#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days

DAY FOURTEEN

Today is the fourteenth of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

According to a survey report by Trailblazers Mentoring Foundation (TMF), three in ten Ugandan girls have their first child before their 18th birthday; more than a third marry before the age of 18. Indeed, both child marriage and early childbearing lead girls to drop out of school prematurely. The survey summarized that many girl children are married off at the age of 15, while at least 40% are married before they are 18. By 2014, 61% of Ugandan children below the age of 18 years had been married off according to Trailblazers Mentoring Foundation (TMF) survey report.

Despite the government’s effort to offer free primary and secondary education, the rampant cases of early marriages have derailed the primary school completion rate among girls in most communities in Uganda.Summary:40% of girls in Uganda are married before their 18th birthday and one in 10 is married before the age of 15.According to UNICEF, Uganda has the 16th highest prevalence rate of child marriage in the world and the tenth highest absolute number of child brides globally – 787,000.Customary marriages or informal marriages, where a girl lives with an older man, are more common than registered civil or religious marriages.11% of currently married 15-19-year-old girls are married to men who have more than one wife.

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. In Uganda, child marriage is also driven by:

Level of education: Some parents in Uganda feel that educating a girl is a waste of time and resources when she will ultimately marry and gain lifelong security.

Poverty: Girls living in Uganda’s poorest households marry at a younger age than those living in the richest households. Some parents see their daughter as a source of wealth as she can fetch the bride price from her husband’s family when she marries.

Family honour: Some families, especially in traditional ethnic communities, marry off their daughters to protect them from early sexual encounters and safeguard the family’s dignity.

Peer pressure: Pressure from friends to marry, and early exposure to pornography and “experimentation” in adult relationships, have been highlighted as drivers of child marriage in Uganda.

Displacement: Uganda hosts some of the largest numbers of refugees in the world, including from South Sudan, the DRC, and Ethiopia. A 2016 study among internally displaced Ugandans in Mucwini, northern Uganda, and Congolese refugees in Nakivale settlement, found that child marriage provides families with legal protection from defilement (sex with a girl under 18) which is a crime in Uganda. Within the camps, child marriages are organized hastily.

Prayer: Please be with the children who are married at a young age; protect them from further harm and guide them. And, Lord, we ask you to protect all other children from child marriage. Though difficult circumstances can cause families to think that marriage is the best option for their children, help them realize the potential harm of child marriage and provide them with other ways to keep their families, especially the children, safe.

(World Vision)#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days

DAY THIRTEEN

Today is the thirteenth of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Female Genital Mutilation is known by different names including ‘cutting’, ‘female circumcision’, and ‘initiation’. FGM predates Christianity and Islam and is not approved by any religion.

FGM is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

The motivations for FGM vary between different ethnic groups, as does the age at which it is carried out, from just after birth, to just before marriage or before the birth of the first child.

In cultures where Female Genital Mutilation is still prevalent one of the reasons given for this horrible practice is that it is “hygienic” and that uncut women are “unclean” and do not fully adhere to the values of their culture. Not to belong, not to honour the cultural values and therefore not be able to be married or included in the normal patterns in society are often the fear tactics used by the advocates for FGM to convince parents to cut their daughters. It is not a simple task to challenge such views and normal, rational arguments about the serious health hazards or psychological risks or lost life chances are not enough. For long-term change is it essential to change the whole society’s view of women and ingrained cultural values and thought patterns.

FGM is against the law in Scotland. (Prohibition of FGM (Scotland) Act 2005)

Prayer:

All people, men and women are your creation – God saw his work and it was good

Today we pray for courage and wisdom for people working to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. For parents to be strong and put their daughters’ wellbeing over fear of breaking cultural values and traditions. For church leaders to show firmness and compassion in equal measure when confronting the practice based on the teachings of Jesus.

We pray for healing for all women, everywhere, who are living with the trauma and the medical and psychological scars of having been cut. For girls to feel valued, clean and affirmed as they are, to be set free and able to fulfil their aspirations.

(Feed the Minds)#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days

DAY TWELVE

Today is the twelfth of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE campaign) is a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world. UNiTE calls on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media, and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women and girls. The campaign builds on existing international legal and policy frameworks and works to synergize the efforts of all UN offices and agencies working to end violence against womenOrange DayThe UNiTE campaign has proclaimed the 25th of each month as “Orange Day”, a day to raise awareness and take action to end violence against women and girls. As a bright and optimistic colour, orange represents a future free from violence against women and girls.

Orange Day calls upon activists, governments, and UN partners to mobilize people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.

On the 25th day of every month, Say NO–UNiTE mobilizes people around the world to support the #OrangeDay initiative. It calls on people everywhere to wear the colour orange and take action to end violence against women and girls in every community, at home, in public spaces, in schools and workplaces, during conflict and in times of peace.

Prayer: God of heaven and earth before you we confess our sin

We confess the terrible physical and sexual violence that so many women and girls across the globe are subjected to.

We confess how even into our own time scripture has been used to justify violence against women and their exclusion from a full role in society.

We confess a violent culture which turns women’s bodies into sexualized commodities and sees women as part of the spoils of war and commerce.

We confess the structural violence of our institutions including the church which too often exclude women from decision-making, power or authority.

God of transformation hear our prayer

(Niluka Perera, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Province of Sri Lanka/Pakistan)#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days

DAY ELEVEN

Today is the eleventh of 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based violence.

Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.

Trafficking in Persons is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by the means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power, or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payment or benefits to achieve the consent of a person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shal include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices of slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Many victims of human trafficking have experienced ignorance or misunderstanding in their attempts to get help. They have had traumatic post-rescue experiences during identification interviews and legal proceedings. Some have faced revictimisation and punishment for crimes they were forced to commit by their traffickers. Others have been subjected to stigmatisation or received inadequate support.

  • In 2018 about 50,000 human trafficking victims were detected and reported by 148 countries.
  • 50% of detected victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation, 38% were exploited for forced labour.
  • female victims continue to be the primary targets. Women make up 46%, and girls 19% of all victims of trafficking.
  • Globally, one in every three victims detected is a child.
  • The share of children among detected trafficking victims has tripled, while the share of boys has increased five times over the past 15 years.

Learning from victims experiences and turning their suggestions into concrete actions will lead to a more victim-centred and effective approach in combatting human trafficking.

Prayer

Dear Lord, just as You helped Moses and Aaron as their spoke boldly to Pharoah on behalf of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt, help us speak up for modern day slaves around the world. We pray that through our actions we can help bring an end to human trafficking.

Dear Lord, You demand justice for Your children who have been wronged. Give strength to people who investigate and prosecute traffickers. Encourage them when they are weary. Give courage to survivors when they are asked to testify against their former captors.

Let Your justice prevail. (Www.worldvision.org)

DAY TEN

Today is the tenth of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. In the past few years, Scotland has made great strides to both protect people affected by domestic abuse and recognise the complexity of this crime.

Domestic abuse comes in many forms, as well as physical abuse, domestic abuse is often a complex mix of financial, emotional, psychological and/or sexual abuse that is used to exert control and dominance over someone.

In fact, 96% of victims/survivors in Scotland have experienced some form of psychological and emotional domestic abuse, according to Safelives research.

In 2019 the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act made domestic abuse a crime for the first time. The new laws made emotional and psychological abuse criminal offenses, recognising the damage caused by coercive control, such as isolating someone from family and friends, regulating daily activities, limiting freedom, controlling money, using gaslighting techniques and more. The law also recognises the impact that domestic abuse has on children and penalties carry more weight when children are involved.

Domestic abuse is the main cause of women’s homelessness – Due to the controlling nature of domestic abuse, tenancy agreements are often held in the perpetrator’s name. Currently, victims of domestic abuse must leave their homes in order to escape their situation, often leaving pets and belongings behind. Often families have to live in temporary accommodation, change schools, find new work, and more, all of which can stop them from moving forward and getting their lives back.

Prayer:

GRACIOUS GOD…You created us in Your image and breathed life into us, a life You want us to live abundantly. We ask You to free those living with abuse physically, mentally or spiritually. May they be freed from their oppression to walk in peace and enjoy a life full of Your blessings.

TEACHING GOD…We pray that You open our minds and hearts to be more aware and supportive to those in abusive situations, so that they may know they are not alone, but are wonderfully loved.

COMPASSIONATE GOD…Protect children who suffer, or witness, abuse at the hands of one they love. Bring them to a safe place where they can begin to heal. Restore their minds to trust and their hearts to love. Surround them with your protection.

LOVING GOD…Be with those who are in doubt about their relationships. Give them clarity of mind and peaceful hearts so they can make good decisions guided by Your love. Grant them courage and protection in the decisions they make. Challenge those who cause harm to others, call them to true repentance and change.

GUIDING LORD…Give us the courage and strength to stand against abuse. Make us witnesses to Your true and abundant love. Make us alive to the needs of our community. Amen

(Methodist Church in Ireland)#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days

DAY NINE

Today is the ninth of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The 2021 theme for IDPWD is Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities: toward an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.

This year, International Day of People with Disabilities should be used to recognise that people who live with disabilities are among the most affected populations amid the COVID pandemic. Where marginalisation, discrimination, vulnerability and exploitation are every day factors for many people, the increased risk of poor outcomes have been magnified with the reduced access to routine health care and rehabilitation services, more pronounced social isolation, poorly tailored public health messaging, inadequately constructed mental health services, and a lack of emergency preparedness for people with special needs.

We call on domestic and international public health officials, political representatives, advocates, supporters, and every citizen in every community, to learn from the experiences of people living with disabilities during this pandemic, and push for more meaningful investments into the socioeconomic building blocks which will reduce the barriers faced by people with disabilities in every community on earth.

Prayer:

God of all people, You have made us in your image, delighting in your creation.

Help us to see and receive each person as a beloved and unique part of your body.

We are all part of the Body of Christ.

You desire all people to use their gifts to enrich the world around them. Help us to celebrate and support the participation and leadership of people with disability in our communities.

We are all part of the Body of Christ.

You give and sustain life, opening ways of thinking and doing that allow all to grow.

Help us to be inclusive in welcoming people with disability as a vital part of “us”.

We are all part of the Body of Christ.

We ask this through Christ, who lives within us and calls us all to fullness of life. Amen. (The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Office for Justice Ecology and Peace)

#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days

DAY EIGHT

Tapestry

Today is the eighth of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance
Communities and individuals of all faiths and none are invited to make a powerful, international statement of their commitment to end rape and violence through contributing to a large tapestry exhibit being developed by the World Council of Churches for its Assembly, 31 August-8 September 2022.

The tapestry is designed as a waterfall with messages and images from around the world. In addition to the WCC Assembly, it is intended to be displayed at other prominent locations, from the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva to the United Nations in New York.

The waterfall is based on the Thursdays in Black design, with the pilgrimage lines in white and purple.

**How can I be involved?**

Make a panel! Individuals and groups can prepare square cloth panels with images and messages that reflect your hope and commitment to overcome gender-based abuse and violence. They might lift up an individual who has made you most aware of the issues, or a scripture passage, or a picture or image that to you means a journey for healing or solidarity. These are just some ideas – what is on the panel is up to you.

What is required is:
Panels should be in cloth, 30 cm x 30 cm (12in x 12in) with a 1cm/half inch border for joining panels together
Ideally, the background colour should be black, purple or white
When completed, please post your square along with a page describing who has prepared the square and any background or story on the image or message* to:

Nicole Ashwood
Just Community of Women and Men
World Council of Churches
P.O. Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland

* If there is any part of the background that you do not wish to be shared publicly as part of the promotion of the tapestry or the exhibit itself, please clearly indicate this when submitting.
Photos of the people working on the square are also encouraged, and can be sent to sara.speicher@wcc-coe.org.
Squares can be sent in at any time.

Prayer
Gracious Lord, you are the God of all. We place before you all those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Grant them your shalom so that they may have the wholeness that you can give. May they be empowered and strengthened by your Spirit to discern and do your will. Amen. (Rev. Dr Winelle Kirton Roberts)

*#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days*

DAY SEVEN

Today is the seventh of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and is also World Aids Day.

World AIDS Day 2021 has the theme of global solidarity, shared responsibility. The day is an opportunity for everyone to help raise awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care around the world.

National AIDS Trust is committed to stopping new cases of HIV, securing the rights of people living with HIV, and fighting HIV stigma and discrimination. People living with HIV are at the heart of what we do, and this year’s World AIDS Day campaign is no different. We’re celebrating the diverse group of people who make up this community and celebrating the HIV allies who stand shoulder to shoulder with them and fight for HIV rights.

As we mark 40 years since the first reported cases of HIV-related illnesses and deaths, we can see how far we’ve come since the times when being diagnosed with HIV was a death sentence. Now, 98% of people living with HIV in the UK are on effective treatment and 97% can’t pass the virus on.

Today an estimated 105,200 people live with HIV in the UK. Yet our recent research found 63% of the public do not remember seeing or hearing about HIV in the past six months. Only a third said they have sympathy for people living with HIV regardless of how they acquired it.

Our survey also found 1 in 5 think people think you can acquire HIV through kissing. Only 16% knew if someone is on effective treatment, they can’t pass HIV on and can expect to live a long and healthy life.

World AIDS Day is the perfect time for us to improve these stats and raise much needed awareness about HIV.

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to end the HIV epidemic for good, but we must also continue fighting the stigma still experienced by people living with HIV. Your support can help us realise our vision of a future where HIV is no barrier to health or equality.

Prayer:

We pray for all infected or affected by HIV and AIDS,

for children and young people, for adults and old people,

for those who seek to provide spiritual care or health care,

for those who allocate resources,

for those who can shape policy,

for our Churches here in Scotland.

Loving God, our loving parent, Let love abound in our praying and in our actions,

let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN

(Carol Finlay)#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days

DAY SIX

Today is the sixth of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Violence against women has had a significant impact on women’s mental health during the pandemic.

It’s hard to overstate the psychological toll of COVID-19. It has isolated us, upended our lives and made us afraid for our physical well-being. For women simultaneously exposed to violence, the compounded emotional impacts are that much worse.

Women who report feeling unsafe at home or in public, or who report direct or indirect experiences of violence, are more likely to say that COVID has worsened their feelings of stress and anxiety, particularly in cases of physical violence. These women are also more likely to report an inability to stop worrying and a lack of interest in doing things.

Prayer:

Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours. (St Teresa of Avila)

#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days

DAY FIVE

Today is the fifth of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

From the early days of the COVID lockdowns, women’s organizations noted a significant increase in reported cases of violence against women. But comprehensive data collection on the issue was difficult, because of the sensitivity, stigma and shame around the subject as well as constraints imposed by the pandemic.

UN Women conducted a survey with data collected in 13 countries across all regions (Kenya, Thailand, Ukraine, Cameroon, Albania, Bangladesh, Colombia, Paraguay, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Morocco, Jordan, and Kyrgyzstan), confirms the severity of the problem.

Across the 13 countries surveyed, 2 in 3 women report that they or a woman they know has experienced violence at some point in their lifetime. Nearly 1 in 2 report direct or indirect experiences of violence since the start of the pandemic.

The most common form is verbal abuse (50%), followed by sexual harassment (40%), physical abuse (36%), denial of basic needs (35%) and denial of means of communication (30%). Seven in 10 women surveyed believe violence against women is common in their community.

Most women believe that COVID has made things worse. Nearly 7 in 10 women think domestic violence has increased during the pandemic, and 3 in 5 think sexual harassment in public has increased. In many cases, heightened demand for shelters and other forms of support has remained unmet due to operational constraints.

Prayer:

Loving Lord, hear our cries for justice and break the chains of abuse

that all may live in safety.

Loving Lord, hear our cries for righteousness and break the chains of oppression that all may live in freedom.

Help us to raise the voice of the voiceless and to always seek justice for those whose lives are so much harder than our own.

Loving Lord, hear our cries for mercy and break the chains of fear that all may live in peace.#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days

DAY FOUR

Today is the fourth of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

School-related gender-based violence is a major obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls.

Globally, one in three students, aged 11–15, have been bullied by their peers at school at least once in the past month, with girls and boys equally likely to experience bullying. While boys are more likely to experience physical bullying than girls, girls are more likely to experience psychological bullying, and they report being made fun of because of how their face or body looks more frequently than boys

School violence and bullying can be devastating for the victims. The consequences include children and youth finding it difficult to concentrate in class, missing classes, avoiding school activities, playing truant or dropping out of school altogether. This has an adverse impact on academic achievement and future education and employment prospects. An atmosphere of anxiety, fear and insecurity is incompatible with learning and unsafe learning environments can, therefore, undermine the quality of education for all learners.

School-related violence in all its forms is an infringement of children’s and adolescents’ rights to education and to health and well-being. No country can achieve inclusive and equitable quality education for all if learners experience violence and bullying in school

Prayer:

Let us remember that when we laugh at someone, they feel pain.

Let us remember that when we pick on someone they are angry but also afraid.

Let us remember that when we don’t stick up for someone who is being bullied, they are alone.

Let us remember that we bully because we want to feel strong, the boss.

But are we? What have we done?

We have forgotten our own fear by making others frightened.

We have forgotten our own loneliness by leaving one of us alone.

We have hidden our own nightmare in another’s terror.

It is no longer enough to be sorry.

It is no longer enough to boast and swagger.

These attitudes are hollow, skating on the thin ice of our own fears, our own hates.

May we have the courage to confront ourselves in the ‘not me’, ‘don’t want to know’, ‘it’s their problem’, ‘I’m not involved’.

May we have the courage to confront ourselves in the ‘I’m right’, ‘She’s black’, ‘He’s stupid’, I’m me and it’s my world, not theirs’.

For we are all hurt, all afraid, all alone, all different, all me, and the world is all ours.

We all have only one life.

(Centre for Christian Studies, Canada)#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days

DAY THREE

Today is the third of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime. In times of crises, the numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent humanitarian crises, conflicts and climate disasters. A new report from UN Women, based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic, shows that 2 in 3 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence and are more likely to face food insecurity. Only 1 in 10 women said that victims would go to the police for help.

While pervasive, gender-based violence is not inevitable. It can and must be prevented. Stopping this violence starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empower women and girls. With survivor-centred essential services across policing, justice, health, and social sectors, and sufficient financing for the women’s rights agenda, we can end gender-based violence.
#OrangeTheWorld and #16Days


Prayer:

God of Peace, Keep us stubborn and steadfast, alert and awake to keep alive this hope for peace and justice, until it becomes a reality for us all.

Only through community, and in solidarity as sisters, can this be achieved. May it be so, according to the promise and power of Your Son and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Rev. Eun Joo Kim, Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)

DAY TWO

Today is the second of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is an umbrella term used to cover a wide range of abuses against women and girls such as domestic homicide, domestic abuse, sexual assault, abuse experienced as a child, female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage and harassment in work and public life. While men and boys also suffer from many of these forms of abuse, they disproportionately affect women.

Prayer:

Great God we give you thanks that you call us out of silence to name hidden and domestic abuse.

We pray for all those women who despite suffering from abuse and violence, continue to care for family and children, to grow and prepare food, carry water, earn a living and offer support to others.

We pray for women who are trafficked as domestic or sex workers; for women who are raped and do not know how to find words to name their pain or a way into the future.

We pray for transformation of our societies which often find it easier to judge the victims of violence than to solve the problems of injustice

We pray that women’s voices may be heard and taken into account in all peace and reconciliation work.We pray for a transformation in the violent way many men act towards and think about women.

We pray for right and just relations between women and men that together we may transform and overcome violence in all its forms and learn to celebrate our diversity and interdependence

We look forward to the age of peace, when violence is banished, both women and men are able to love and to be loved, and the work and wealth of our world is justly shared. (World Council of Churches)


Twitter: @UN_Women
Facebook: @unwomen
Instagram: @unwomen
TikTok: @unwomen

DAY ONE

Today is the first of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence – an annual international campaign. This is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It is also recognised as White Ribbon Day in the UK.

White Ribbon UK is a leading charity engaging with men and boys to end violence against women. They encourage us to make the following promise:

I promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.

We are being called by the UN to ‘Orange the World: End violence against women now!”

Statistics gathered by the UN in 2017 indicated that 87,000 women were killed because of their gender. Of those murders, 58 percent – 137 women each day – were killed by a member of their own family or intimate partner. The onset of Covid-19 has exacerbated the violence, so much so, that by September 2020, 121 countries instituted and adopted new measures to provide support and/or care for women survivors of violence as part of their Covid-19 response plans.

Prayer:

Merciful and loving God,

forgive us when we have closed our eyesto the sufferings of others;

when we have stayed silent in the face of abuse and oppression;

when we have declined to challenge unacceptable actions and attitudes.

Take away our selfishnessand

fill us with new resolve to proclaim justice and mercy

in the name of Christ. Amen

(Mother’s Union)

Twitter: @UN_Women
Facebook: @xunwomen

Instagram: @unwomen

Tiktok:@unwomen

Posted by Helen M Mee


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