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Anglican Church of Korea holds its first forum on gender based violence

Posted on: December 19, 2019 3:35 PM
Women leaders within the Anglican Church of Korea took part in the 16 Days of Activism
Photo Credit: Anglican Church of Korea

[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] Women leaders within the Anglican Church of Korea took part in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence for the first time this year.

Executive Director of Women’s Mission Centre, for the Anglican Church of Korea, Ruth Choi, in partnership with the church’s Women’s Bureau, held a forum followed by a workshop to take forward advocacy and support the campaign across the churches.

Ruth Choi said: “We have tried to take action around this campaign for a long time but because of the culture of people in our church we were not able to do it. It is not easy to talk publicly about gender issues including equality and justice in our church.  However, we thought we should do it now, otherwise women in our church would never find out what happens in the world and our society.”

The keynote speaker at the forum was a member of the Anglican church, Sun Hee Yang, who is a general secretary of a global women’s rights movement - YWCA, Korea. She spoke about gender equality and sensitivities in the Church in Korea.  

The workshop was led by the Revd Debora Kim, who is the Director of the Gender Equality Bureau (and the Women’s Bureau of the Anglican Church of Korea).

Ruth Choi said the day was an opportunity to discuss prejudice and discrimination around gender and also male supremacy.

“We invited various group such as the Mothers’ Union, women clergy and young adults,” she said. “It was a fruitful and successful workshop to share various opinions and situations for gender equality in the Church.”

As it was the first time this topic has been addressed, the organisers focused on raising awareness of the various forms of violence and calling for work to prevent and end violence against women and girls.  

According to Ruth Choi most women are unaware of the issues. She said: “the majority of women members do not pay attention to these issues and think we do not have any problems in terms of violence against women and girls or rape.”

During the campaign’s 16 days, prayers were shared on eliminating violence against women and girls through social networking services such as Facebook, BAND, KakaoTalk and text messages.

Ruth Choi said: “As this is the first time we have done this we don’t yet know what the outcomes will be. However, many people responded positively especially around the prayers for 16 days.  We posted prayers everyday on BAND and Kakaotalk.  Our purpose was to speak out about this issue and raise awareness of the various forms of violence against women.”

In addition to the social network activity, they also distributed orange ribbon printed with campaign catchphrases such as ‘Safe Church without Violence’ and ‘Calling for Peace’ to all the clergy and synod members of three dioceses.

The campaign referred to the UN Women Executive Director’s Statement, which said: “No further generations must struggle to cope with a legacy of violation.”

Ruth Choi said: “I wanted to share our story with friends in Anglican Communion. We, at the Women's Mission Centre, will continue to work for gender equality and women's empowerment to change the world and the Church.”

The 16 days campaign video produced by the Anglican Communion Office has also been reaching a wide audience over the past week since it was posted online. Thus far it has reached over 18,000 people on Facebook.