Speaking Out Against Gender Violence

The United Nation's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is an opportunity to renew our commitment to protect the rights and offer support to women who are abused.

Sunday, Nov. 25, was the United Nation’s International Day to End Violence Against Women.

At the White Plains Presbyterian Church we observed this day as an Orange Day. Orange Day is observed on the 25th of every month to remember the pervasiveness of gender-based violence, that is violence against women and girls, and to respond by speaking out, and by resolving to make the changes necessary.

Violence against women is happening every minute of every hour of every day, everywhere. It is common across race, age, class, sexual orientation and religious preference. This violence is not random; it is not accidental. It is directed against women by men, strangers or intimates, simply because they are women.

Because of their gender, women are perceived to be available victims, powerless, vulnerable, and deserving of abuse. Statistically, women are most likely to be assaulted by a family member or acquaintance: hence the most dangerous place for a woman is to be in a relationship.

Nearly one out of two women has suffered rape or attempted rape, one out of five wives has been a victim of physical abuse by a husband, almost 60 percent of battered women have been raped by their batterer, one out of three girl children is sexually abused before she is 18 years old. Simply because of their gender, they are viewed as legitimate targets for male aggression and violence. Every woman carries either the fear of violence or the memory of violence in her life.  Author Margaret Atwood famously put it this way, “a man’s worst fear is being laughed at by a woman. And a woman’s worst fear is being killed by a man.”

Of course violence against women takes many forms: physical, psychological, sexual. Whether it is the brutalization of an acquaintance, or the beating of a wife, or the molestation of a 3-year old girl, or the unwanted hand on your thigh in the subway, women and girls live with violence every day.

Through our worship on Sunday morning, the White Plains Presbyterian Church proclaimed that God’s reign is a Reign of Love! A safe place for all people! A nourishing commonwealth in which every person is valued! A renewing space where we let go of any thoughts or practices that cause harm and reach out in care and respect to one another. Because the way things are is not how they have to be. We let our worship on Orange Day stand as a sign of the world we intend to build, together with God, starting now.

You can read yesterday’s sermon, “The Way Thing Are Is Not How They Have To Be” on Pastor Jeff’s Blog. We worship every Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m.

If you or someone you know is being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hot Line toll free at (800) 799-7233 for assistance and guidance.

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