In the UK between a quarter and half of all women experience domestic violence.
More than 60 bishops around the country will wore a white ribbon last Monday (25 November) to support the campaign dedicated to stamping out gender-based violence. Many visited local projects and took to twitter to raise awareness.
The Bishop of Aston, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, chair of the Panel for World Mission and the Anglican Communion, said he was delighted that so many bishops had taken up the challenge.
In a Church of England interview (click here to listen) Bishop Andrew speaks about the White Ribbon Campaign and explains how he had been approached by colleagues from the worldwide Anglican Communion who are concerned about gender violence.
To mark the day Bishop Andrew visited the Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, meeting and talking with victims of abuse and those who support them. He also spoke last weekend at a celebration event for the charity Asha, which for 25 years has been empowering women to make a difference to their lives and communities in the slums of Delhi.
The White Ribbon campaign, originally started by a group of men, is being supported by a number of Christian organisations in this field. The Mothers’ Union has produced an action pack (downloadable from their website) and the organisation ‘Restored’ has developed its ‘First Man Standing’ campaign.
Canon Janice Price, World Mission Adviser for Archbishops’ Council, said it was vital to be standing in solidarity with the rest of the Anglican Communion on an issue which affects women in every culture.
A spokesman for the White Ribbon Campaign said: “Silence is not an option. Silence excuses violence against women. WRC needs men to swear the pledge, wear the ribbon and share the issues by becoming an ambassador and speaking out. To have senior church leaders speaking out is a wonderful start in ending abuse.”
Read Bishop Andrew’s diocesan statement on White Ribbon Campaign by clicking here.