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16 Days to Stop the Violence *Updated

by glynch — last modified 11 Dec, 2017 03:53 PM

Bishop’s Staff and Mothers’ Union take part in '16 Days' campaign against Gender-Based Violence

This week saw the Bishop of Salisbury and his staff, and the Diocesan Mothers’ Union branch, both take part in the worldwide 16 Days campaign to end Gender Based Violence.

The Bishop’s staff were taking part in a global Twitter campaign involving leaders of all faiths, to help make churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues a safe place for victims of violence against women.

Bishop Nicholas said, “Church leaders can have an enormous influence for the good by speaking out for justice and dignity and against the disfigurement of our humanity that gender-based violence represents. No community is immune, but every one of us can take vital steps to Break the Silence, Lift the Shame, and Shift the Blame on Gender-Based Violence.

“You can join and my staff, and add your support for the campaign by taking a photograph of yourself with something carrying the hashtag #endGBV, and tweeting it.”

16 Days Service Cathedral Dec 17.jpgMothers’ Union members gathered in Salisbury Cathedral yesterday afternoon at a Eucharist at which they also lent their voices to the campaign. They were joined by the Provincial President for Mothers’ Union, Nikki Sweatman.

Diocesan MU President for Salisbury, Rosie Stiven, said, “Members of Mothers’ Union gathered from all around the diocese to raise awareness of our 16 days of activism campaign against gender based violence.

“Mothers’ Union does not tolerate abuse or violence in any way, in any form. I would like to thank all our members for coming along today and for being so very generous with their donations of items for the Salisbury women’s refuge, which I took there after the service.”

The Revd Jacqui Clark, Associate Priest at St John’s, Devizes, and Chaplain to Mothers’ Union Trustees, focused on the practical steps people could take to help, saying, “You can write to your MPs, you can write to the leaders of countries – as many as you can – write to the media… write wherever you can.

"If anyone would like more information you can email me or look on the Mothers’ Union website. There is extensive information there with ideas for letters, emails, and so on.

“We should all do as the Mothers’ Union asks of us to break the silence, lift the shame and shift the blame!”

UPDATE: Read the transcript of her talk here

16 Days Catherdal Dec 17 Instructions.jpgNikki Sweatman added, “Mothers’ Union is taking this very seriously and working with the Church across the world, where we have influence. This isn’t just about women: it’s about men, children and everybody, because gender based violence happens to us all.

“We work in places like Congo, Ethiopia and Zambia where the Church has tremendous influence, but also here in the UK. We have gender based violence here as well as instances of sexual slavery, female genital mutilation, and so on

“We need to care for people who are often hidden from society.

Campaigning takes place in all sorts of contexts during the 16 Days. A key figure in the global Twitter campaign by faith leaders is former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Rowan Williams, who said, “Jesus tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God, and his justice,” he said in the video. “Justice means that no-one is denied a voice and a place; a right to make a different to the world they live in. But in our world, women and girls are frequently denied that place and that voice: humiliated, marginalised, objects of violence and exclusion.”

He called on faith leaders to “speak out in defence of the implementation of laws that protect women and girls [and] to speak out against cultural practices and habits that continue to demean and hold back women and girls.”

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