The statistics of men who commit violence against women is staggering. Staggering because of the scale. One in three Australian women will, in her lifetime, suffer violence directed at her simply because she is female. Domestic violence is the leading cause of death and injury in women under 45, with more than one woman murdered by her current or former partner every week. [see http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/white-ribbon-importance]
Today I wholeheartedly stood with Church leaders to sign and swear this oath:
“I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. This is my oath.”
Swearing this oath is important as an act of solidarity. But a day like today reminds us that men must take responsibility for their choices, behaviour, relationships. It should remind fathers to take responsibility for how they model honouring women to their sons. Today should remind leaders to assess how their organisations and teams honour women and cultivate proactive support for women.
In this vein, it is worth asking how our Churches can continue to grow in promoting the dignity and protection of all women. Through their services Baptist Care SA are part of our addressing the social impact of violence against women. Our Churches and leaders make many courageous efforts to care for women and families affected by violence. But let us still ask – are there further areas for growth and who gets to make this assessment? If all the peak leaders in a Church or team are male, I wonder what your women would say? It would be great to ask them. Critically, how can we as Churches make a greater contribution to turning this ‘social epidemic’ around?
I have 3 daughters and am married to an incredible woman. I don’t want them to live in a world or nation where they are treated as objects, not people; where their contribution is diminished because of their gender; or where they need fear violence in any form, simply because they are female. You don’t have to be Christian to want this. Anyone with sense and decency would want this for all women. And you shouldn’t have to be a woman to fight for it either.
Join the White Ribbon March Saturday Nov 29, Victoria Square, 10am
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