Side by Side for the 16 Days of Activism

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Side by Side member organisations have been getting involved with the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence.

The 16 Days, 25 November to 10 December, provide a focus for drawing attention to the continuing realities of gender-based violence in all its forms, and encourage faith leaders and communities to recommit to bringing the gender-just values of faith to our different contexts.

Precious in God’s Eyes

 

The Church of Sweden, Finn Church Aid, the Lutheran World Federation, Norwegian Church Aid, the Anglican Communion, Restored and the World Council of Churches have jointed Islamic Relief Worldwide, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, World YWCA, and Mission 21 in a social media campaign to let the world know that because we are precious in God’s eyes, we will not keep silent about sexual violence and gender-based violence. Faith leaders and communities have been tweeting and posting their pledges #16Days @SBSGender.

Christian Aid has also been running an #EndGBV social media campaign for the 16 Days.

“I support the call to give better education to adolescent girls and end gender based violence.” Mr Beti Barau (Secretary, Anglican Church leader/teacher in Nigeria.

In a video message, Dr Rowan Williams, Chair of the Christian Aid board, has invited faith leaders around the world to pledge to take action to eliminate gender based violence.

Church of Scotland (the Kirk) congregations are being encouraged to install posters in their toilets with the numbers of phone helplines for those who are experiencing gender-based violence. The Kirk’s Violence against Women group, which created the posters, notes that one in three women will experience some form of abuse in their lifetime.

The group is asking as many churches as possible to tweet their support using the hashtag #Kirk16days, along with a photo of the poster being installed.

Sonke Gender Justice in South Africa has been asking business owners what they are doing to stand up to gender-based violence in the workplace, and whether they provide safe transport to and from work after hours for their employees. “Do you provide training on sexual harassment at work? Let us know – and educate and inspire others!”

#16Days: Residents of Gugulethu demand safety in their community

Sonke has also been standing in solidarity with the Gugulethu community in the Western Cape where there are high rates of gender-based violence.

Thursdays in Black are promoting a list of actions for the 16 Days and for any time in the year, from speaking out about sexual assault and domestic violence from the pulpit, to leading by example by volunteering to serve on the board of directors at the local sexual assault or domestic violence program or train to become a crisis volunteer.

The Church of Uganda Planning, Development and Rehabilitation Department, supported by DanChurchAid has been taking a lead in organising activities for the 16 Days. These will include a Gender Justice Run in Kampala on 2 December. The Anglican Primate, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, will get the Run going: “The 16 Days of Activism are our time to speak out against all forms of violence and gender injustices … it calls for responsibility and respect for human dignity from us all.”

The We Will Speak Out faith coalition against sexual and gender-based violence hosted a 16 Days of Activism webinar featuring a panel of speakers, including survivors, on the role of faith communities in responding to the needs and priorities of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and building survivor movements that can shape policy and practice.

As part the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Premier’s programme for the 16 Days of Activism, We Will Speak Out South Africa co-hosted ‘Survivors in Solidarity: Tackling the Sticking Points for 365 Days of Effective Action’ along with the Phephisa Survivors Movement. During the event, faith communities and key stakeholders engaged with survivors of sexual and gender based violence with a view to proposing concrete mechanisms for building on current good practices, while addressing gaps in tackling underlying drivers of SGBV.

For three days in Butere, Western Kenya, Side by Side Kenya chaired by Orthodox priest, Fr Evangelos Thiani, with other theologians brought together by the FECCLAHA Secretariat, engaged with some 50 clergy and church leaders on matters of gender justice as part of the 16 Days of Activism activities organised by the FECCLAHA Secretariat.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence were introduced several years ago by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University in the USA, and now represent a significant promoter of transformative action.

Posted by: Terrie Robinson | Friday, December 1st, 2017
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