November 25 is an important day for many women and men. One in three women in our world are victims of violence which includes rape, murder, and other coercive, intimidating behaviors. In the U.S., the statistic is one in five.
Of the women in my closest circles, nearly all of us have been directly affected by violence. And we are in the “surviving and thriving” category. This is likely because we had good support from other sources and because we are people with resources, at least most of us are. None of these incidents were with people we did not know. One person said, “I do worry that some day, my spouse will flip out and that will be the end of me.” From outward appearances, everything is fine.
We spend a great deal of energy and money trying to keep women safe in the public sphere, which likely has a significant impact on the statistics here in the U.S. However, perhaps we should shift our focus and funding into creating a culture of peace and respect and enforcing domestic violence laws. This is much harder (and more dangerous) to control, of course, but it sits at the heart of the abuse of women.
November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This year I became involved with a movement to change this called One Billion Rising. http://onebillionrising.org/ This is what it is.
On February 14, we will participate in:
A global strike
An invitation to dance
A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers
A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given
A new time and a new way of being
I hope you will consider joining a local effort: awareness raising that culminates in a dance (one of the most freeing, self-expressive acts we can do.) It’s going to be a party – I hope you’ll be there. If not here, then in your own area. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about the Seattle effort.
Finally, for progressive people of Christian faith, here is a liturgy from Associate Professor of Liturgy and Worship at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. It translates quickly into English and in this case, it is so moving, I doubt that it detracts much from the original. It’s so rich and woman-affirming.