Will you #HearMeToo?
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November kicked off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign called Orange the World #HearMeToo.
This campaign is focussed on creating global awareness on gendered violence as well as standing with survivors. This campaign also builds on grassroots movements such as #TimesUp #MeToo and #MetooIndia.
Throughout the 16 days of activism UN Women will be sharing stories of women and men who are fighting for women’s rights every day but do not garner media headlines.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said that a global effort is needed end violence against women.
“Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free from fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world.
“With orange as the unifying colour of solidarity, the #HearMeToo hashtag is designed to send a clear message: violence against women and girls must end now, and we all have a role to play,” said Mr. Guterres.
For far too long, impunity, silence & stigma have allowed violence against women to escalate to pandemic proportions. Time for change is here & now. #16Days of Activism kick off on 25 Nov: https://t.co/kCHcjKhLe9 #HearMeToo #orangetheworld pic.twitter.com/BcUVDz5Klv
— UN Women (@UN_Women) November 11, 2018
One in three women globally have experienced physical or sexual violence, often by an intimate partner. This gendered violence is experienced across age groups, social status, race or country.
These stories and their #MeToo moment is stifled because of the consequences of speaking out and the complex survival journey.
This campaign provides an opportunity for diverse voices to be heard. It also encourages the mobilisation of workplaces, educational sectors, governments and civil society organisations to introduce changes to promote gender equality, as well as advocate the end of violence against women.
A statement on the campaign website encourages campaign partners to:
“…host events with local, national, regional and global women’s movements, survivor advocates and women human rights defenders and create opportunities for dialogue between activists, policy-makers and the public.”
Church communities and leaders also have a responsibility in this space. An ABC investigation series by Julia Baird and Hayley Gleeson found that religion is often used to both justify domestic violence in marriages and keep victims from seeking help or leaving their abusive partner.
This along with social commentary under the #ChurchToo hashtag showed the extent of the hurt and the need for church leaders and community to be proactive in supporting parishioners who are trapped in violent relationships.
I walked away from the ministry for years because I had been sexually harassed and groped by church leaders. The people that I told of my experience either had no power to do anything about it or had power but just did not care. Thank you for speaking out. #churchtoo
— Monica C. Holland (@DestinysWom) November 22, 2017
I used to attend a fundy church where I knew of women counseled to stay in abusive marriages. Before I left mine, men from the church tried to convince me to stay, thankfully I didn’t listen. #churchtoo
— Asha Dahya (@Ashadahya) November 21, 2017
At the 15th Assembly meeting in July, the Uniting Church in Australia put out a strong statement denouncing theology used to justify domestic violence. The statement acknowledged that the church can do more to combat domestic violence.
The Uniting Church resolution stated:
“Reject any abuse of theology to legitimate Domestic and Family Violence, recognising that theologies which affirm gender equality and human dignity play an essential role in bringing to light and preventing Domestic and Family Violence.” You can read the full statement here.
Uniting Church Standing Committee member, Bethany Broadstock, tabled the resolution at the Assembly meeting and said that the resolution states that as the Uniting Church, “we reject violence. We reject the complicity of the church and theology.”
Ms Broadstock also asserted that domestic violence is a social epidemic particularly in Australia. In the beginning of October this year, seven women in Australia died in five days due to domestic violence.
The Uniting Church Assembly is currently working to provide resources on domestic and family violence, following the passing of the resolution.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence please call 1800 Respect national helpline: 1800 737 732, Women’s Crisis Line: 1800 811 811, Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491 or Lifeline (24-hour crisis line): 131 114.
Sojourners published 100 Sermons and resources contributed from pastors and parishioners on domestic violence and sexual violence. Read more.