- by Emmy McKirgan
It seems incomprehensible that in this day and age women still need to be afraid! Why is it that in 2020 women are afraid for their lives, their children’s lives and their livelihoods? When I was asked to write about this topic, I was taken aback that this would be a subject matter that needs to be deliberated in our modern, forward-thinking era.
I began by investigating what occurrence brought this day into being , as a forty-something woman I don’t remember ever really hearing about this specific day. That didn’t sit well with me; the fact-finder in me wanted to see why there was so little known about such an important day. Don’t get me wrong – I was not ignorant of violence against women. I was just not aware that November 25th was that day.
Back to the Beginning
The short version of the story: on November 25, 1960, three sisters, the Mirabals were executed in the Dominican Republic for fighting against Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship. Activists have commemorated this day on the anniversary of the killings. It wasn’t until 1999 that the date of the deaths became the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This was declared by the UN General Assembly. Look further into the details here: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/eliminate-violence-against-women-day
“Did the deaths of these three women have to occur for this issue to gain publicity?” In reality, I am aware that many women had died before this event – in less public cases.
I even asked others and the answer was the same – people are aware of the violence but not the day designated by the UN. So why the disparity? Violence against women has been a loaded topic, gaining even more steam now as COVID surges.
As I looked more into this I was overwhelmed with emotion and disgust! The statistics are not encouraging! The scariest part is that a lot of the issues and deaths are a result of partners, spouses and those close to the women. The people they should be able to trust are the ones causing the pain! How can someone who is supposed to protect you be the one who you need to be afraid of?
What Preventative Measures can we Establish?
There are resources available for survivors. However, as with mental health stigma, there is a stigma around violence. As important as it is to have resources available, it seems more important to curb the violence. As I saw the staggering statistics I wondered: how can change this? What steps can we take to protect our daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends? This sites analysis on this issue is very compelling. Violence has to be prevented at a young age, by teaching both genders the importance of respect, equality and making environments safe for all people.
What is the Church Doing to Stop this Brutality?
I can’t speak for churches in general, but I can say that the church I attend makes a concerted effort to bringing violence to the forefront! In October and November, the counselling team speaks about advocating to make the congregation aware of the violence. Topics included: violence in general, family violence, domestic violence, and violence against women. I appreciate that this church doesn’t shy away from addressing real, important issues. I think sometimes people who are not churchgoers assume that these types of issues are just not talked about in the church – but in some congregations, they are!
Have you ever heard of this designated day? Comment below.
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“Consequently, faith comes from hearing
the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
~ Romans 10:17