[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] Anglican churches and individuals around the world have been adding their voices to the 16 days of activism against gender violence which ended this week.
In Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, the Archbishop of Uganda and Bishop of Kampala spoke out in support of the campaign as his church members joined street marches to raise awareness.
He said: “We condemn in the strongest term possible, actions of rape and violence against women and girls. As a church, we are deeply concerned about the increasing trend of sexual and gender-based violence in the country especially towards women and girls including the continued harmful practices such as Female Genital Mutilation and child marriages. I am also concerned about the increasing cases of child molesting and defilement and its negative consequences.”
The Bishop said he was concerned about delays over the sexual offences bill by the government and urged them to act to pass the bill as soon as possible.
He said: “As a church, we wish to see children grow in a safe and progressive environment. We will continue to mobilize our constituency to contribute towards a world free of violence and rape, where men and women live in mutual respect.”
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which ran from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence, to Human Rights Day on 10 December, has been supported by the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) through an awareness campaign on social media with videos and posts on the facts about gender-based violence.
According to the posts 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives and some 200 million women and girls aged 15-49 have undergone female genital mutilation. Posts included facts on violence against women across the world and victim’s stories. There were blogs from bishops including comments from the Primate of the Anglican church of Canada, Linda Nicholls. She said: “My message is to pay attention. Pay attention to the smallest ways that people degrade others based on their gender.” She said the example had been set by Jesus, who spoke out, healed people, paid attention and raised up people up to stand against injustice.
Resources and information were also shared on Anglican initiatives tackling gender-based violence, such as a project called the House of Sarah, set up by the Anglican Church in Melanesia, which offers a listening ear to those experiencing violence and training for carers.
In their video, staff from the ACO gave the message that: “the 16 days may be over, but the conversation is not.” The video states that tackling the deep injustices of gender inequality is part of “our Anglican mission.” It also encourages individuals and churches to download the resources shared and help begin to tackle injustices locally.
To have a look at the campaign, visit the Anglican Communion's Facebook page or their Twitter page.