Inspiration For You
Violence Against Women: A Call for Action
Violence is a major obstacle to development. Violence against women in particular hinders progress in achieving development targets. Despite the growing recognition of violence against women as a public health and human rights concern, and of the obstacle it poses for development, this type of violence continues to have an unjustifiably low priority on the international agenda.
It is estimated that one in every five women faces some form of violence during her lifetime, in some cases leading to serious injury or death. Today, due in large part to the efforts of women's organizations and the evidence provided by research, including that of World Health Organization, violence against women is recognized as a global concern. One of the most pervasive violations of human rights in all societies, it exists on a continuum from violence perpetrated by an intimate partner to violence as a weapon of war.
The most widely used definition of violence against women (VAW) is:
"...violence against women" means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life." United Nations' General Assembly Declaration of the Elimination of Violence Against Women (resolution 48/104 of December 1993)
WHAT CAN MY LOCAL CHURCH DO?
As a community of believers who recognize the value God places on each person, we have an opportunity to work as Christ did, to free the captives, to set at liberty those who are oppressed. Let us take a little time to answer the question, "What can my local church do to help prevent gender violence and to help victims heal?
- Compile complete, up-to-date information about all resources in your community available to victims of any type of gender-based violence. Make sure the information is easily available to members and others. Get acquainted with shelters and referral sources to learn what services they offer and when they are open.
- Present sermons and workshops to the congregation and the community on issues of gender-based violence relevant to your community. Offer to present age-appropriate information in local schools.
- Recognize that gender-based violence is a tremendous evil, that it is never acceptable and cannot be condoned.
- Create a church lending library of materials on gender-based violence issues relevant to your community so members and leaders may become educated on this vital topic. Organize a group to assess the needs in the local community.
- Care for hurting people in our church. Be non-judgmental. Develop support groups. Help raise awareness. Share materials about gender-based violence with your community.
For more information on Abuse Prevention Emphasis Day and to download the free packet, click here.