16 Days of Activism

Here are some of the actions taken by Anglicans during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence in 2015

In the Anglican Diocese of Muyinga, Burundi, women marched with the Bishop, and used drama, dance, song and talks to raise awareness of gender-based violence and promote positive attitudes and women’s empowerment.

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In Sri Lanka, the Rt Revd Dhiloraj Canagasabey, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Colombo, wrote to all clergy to draw attention to the 16 Days of Activism and describing how the war in the North and East of Sri Lanka has left a legacy of sexual and domestic violence and forced prostitution. Most churches in the diocese observed, preached and prayed on the theme. After an ecumenical Service at St Paul's Church, Kilinochchi, members of the congregation handed out leaflets on child abuse and on violence against women. Bishop Canagasabey’s statement is here .

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A number of Anglican Schools in Australia engaged with White Ribbon Day on 25 November, the first day of the 16 Days of Activism. White Ribbon is the world’s largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women. St Aidan’s School in the Diocese of Brisbane held a special assembly and an art project led by the girls. Two students from the school went to the White Ribbon Day breakfast and panel discussion hosted by the Premier of the state of Queensland.

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St Aidan’s sister school, St Margaret's, undertook a student-led project ‘Not Now, Not Ever’. The school chaplains in the diocese are planning to develop a Religious and Values Education curriculum unit on the topic which will have a positive message about the gospel and activism against violence.

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The Anglican Diocese of Polynesia, through the House of Sarah and in partnership with the Australian High Commission, held a talanoa session (flow of ideas and experience) at the Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji, where religious leaders explored faith-based responses to the pervasive problem of violence against women and girls. Read more here.

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The House of Sarah in Fiji, a project of the Association of Anglican Women working to build equal and respectful relationships within Fiji's families, churches, schools and communities, posted resources for the 2015 16 Days in English and local languages on its website.

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Staff at the Anglican Communion Office showed their support for all Anglicans participating in the 16 Days of Activism and the Thursdays in Black movement of women and men who lament violence against women and girls and show their solidarity and commitment to ending it by wearing black every Thursday.

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The Diocese of Calcutta in the Church of North India partnered with the All India Council of Christian Women and the Scottish Episcopal Church to put on a seminar with the 16 Days theme ‘From peace in the home to peace in the world: Make education safe for all. Here is the report of the seminar.

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‘Girls with power; Girls with dignity’: Anglicans contributed to and used a new ecumenical and inter faith website for the 16 Days at www.genderjustice-interfaith.net focussing on ending violence against girls and young women in education. The website includes multi-media resources and a calendar with a good news story of empowerment for each day of the 16 Days.

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The All India Council of Christian Women (the Womens' wing of the National Council of Churches in India) representing 7 million Christian women in India has been galvanizing member Churches and their Women’s Fellowships to engage actively in a campaign to promote child protection policies and end child abuse. This is part of a broader campaign ‘365 Days Zero Tolerance of Gender Based Violence’ which aims to end a culture of sexual and gender-based violence in India. Read more here.

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St Bartholomew's Anglican Church, Alstonville, in the Diocese of Grafton, was one of the Australian churches where a huge white ribbon was tied around the entire church building and a themed Service was held to mark White Ribbon Day. The words, hymns, prayers and Bible readings during the Service highlighted the Gospel imperative for us all to be active participants in the elimination of all forms of men's violence against women and children, particularly in our homes. Australian rugby coach and former player James Holbeck and Ann Skamp, IAWN convener, spoke about the need for gender justice if we are serious about the elimination of all forms of violence against women and children. Ann said “As Christians we have the model of equal and respectful relationships set out for us by Jesus. God urges all of us to bring about a world where women and men, boys and girls are safe as full and equal participants in the societies in which we live.”

In the Church of Ireland on 28 November Mothers’ Union members hosted simultaneous prayer vigils for the 16 Days of Activism in all its 12 dioceses in solidarity with women at home and across the world who are suffering from gender-based violence.

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In the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway development team for imaginative outreach into the local community held an event ‘Not for Us, not for our Neighbours’ looking at gender and domestic violence, gender justice, safeguarding, and the Church.

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In Goma and Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Mothers’ Union raised awareness of the 16 Days and the continuing prevalence of sexual and gender based violence by organising parades and carrying banners. They invited church leaders to join them. The parades were followed by speeches from church leaders, local government officials and women’s champions.

In Fiji, Diocese of Polynesia, the Wailoku Anglican Church used the 16 Days of Activism to share messages of inclusivity of women in the community through supporting and listening to them. The Revd Jone Tuiwaiwai who serves the church said "We have 300 families who are members of the congregation at this church and the service today was not only for the congregation, but also for the communities close by." He said the theme of inclusion and support would challenge the local patriarchal belief that did not regard women as equals. Read more here.

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National Episcopal Church Women (ECW) partnered with A Window Between Worlds (AWBW), a non-profit organization dedicated to using art as a healing tool to empower and transform individuals and communities impacted by violence and trauma. This art helped give life to 16 words used by ECW to reflect on and encourage action on eliminating gender violence. Learn more about this project here.

See here for resources for raising awareness and working against gender-based violence.