Sixteen Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children:
“Commit. Act. Demand: We CAN End Violence Against Women” A Pastoral Letter
During these days of the 16 days campaign against violence on women and children the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) brings you greetings. The political and traditional leaders of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the Ecumenical Movement in KZN, the churches and communities, let us “Commit .Act. Demand: We CAN End Violence Against Women”. This in the international theme of the 16 Days Campaign. Let us join international communities to seek to end violence against women and children
What is the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign?
“The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre” (www.cwgl.rutgers.edu/16days/about.html)
Callousness of Some Men, Stigma and Discrimination
The scourge of HIV and the callousness of some men pose a challenge together with stigma and discrimination in the context we are facing. One of the major challenges which demand the attention of all concerned is that of stigma and discrimination.
“Stigma, shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and mis-action (SSDDIM) are six related evils that continue to either frustrate or slow down our HIV&AIDS prevention, care, and treatment, and impact mitigation efforts” (Gideon). Seemingly, it is women who feel the shame and isolation of blame and stigmatisation. Insufficient action on the side of communities does not help purge the pain of SSDDIM.
Active participation and involvement of men such as ministers or pastors, elders,
deacons, traditional leaders, political leaders, fathers, brothers and boys is long over due. If men can lead by example, by caring for the sick, caring for women and the girl child, perhaps a transformed and fairly equal society may emerge sooner than expected. The ‘Good Samaritan’ in the Bible (Lk. 10: 25 – 37) went out of his way to help and care for a wounded person. He transported him to a place of care. And he paid for his care – a person he did not know at all. Can’t we take and example?
What is the Purpose of 16 Days Campaign
“The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:
- raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels
- strengthening local work around violence against women
- establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
- providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies
- demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women
- creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against” (cwgl.rutgers.edu/16days/about.html)
Some Encouraging Themes and Slogans in Relation to 16 Days, World Aids Day and International Human Rights Day
In very recent days we have heard some encouraging themes and slogans urging us to keep on going on in our campaign against violence on women and children in the context of World Aids Day and International Human Rights day which read: “Wherever you are, whenever you work, you can make a difference”; “I don’t suffer with HIV, I live with it”; Right to health; I am accepted; I am living my rights and I am getting treatment.
The world cannot be complacent in tackling the issues of violence against women, HIV and AIDS and universal human rights. It has become much more compelling that the governments of the world, pharmaceutical companies, the health sector, religious communities and the business sector join hands more, partner and have a united effort to commit themselves to end violence against women, the scourge of HIV, abuse of human rights and seek to achieve the ideals of the millennium goals.
Call to Act, Pray and Preach
We call and encourage all actors to take their rightful position in the fight against violence against women and children, the challenges of HIV and AIDS and demand human rights for all. The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) is committed to concrete social action to engage the issues of violence, HIV and human rights all the time and all the way.
May this year’s campaign develop into a year long campaign especially as we prepare for the World Cup in 2010. Let us ensure that women and children know their rights and feel safe in all the corners of South Africa.
Yours in Ecumenism Confession and prayer
Isaiah 5:8a,12a, 18a, 20-22; 10:1-2; 58,6-7
Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you…
Ah, you who rise early in the morning in pursuit of strong drink, who linger in the evening to be inflamed by wine. but who do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands!
Ah, you who drag iniquity along with cords of falsehood, who drag sin along as with cart ropes.
Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light
for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes, and shrewd in your own sight!
Ah, you who are heroes in drinking wine and valiant at mixing drink, who
acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of their rights!
Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn
aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right,
that widows may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey!
Ah you! Ah you!
LORD’S PRAYER (Congregation divided in 2)
A: Our Father in Heaven B: Incarnated in all those who suffer A: Hallowed be your name
B: And all the names that you mysteriously reveal yourself in.
A: Your kingdom come
B: In our midst, secretly hidden
A: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
B: Make us tools of your good news to the poor!
A: Give us today our daily bread
B: May we never celebrate a single meal or Eucharist without remembering all those who do not have enough to eat.
A: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
B: Make us see and both structural and individual sin.
A: Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil
B: The force that threaten to destroy our world and your creation A: For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours B: The power to challenge, transform and heal A/B: Now and forever. Amen.
(Lord’s prayer adapted by Rev Gyrid Gunnes, Norway)