Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent, and devastating human rights violations. It remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma, and shame surrounding it.
To learn about the official ELCA social teaching about gender-based violence, check out the Gender-Based Violence Social Message and its Foundational Documentation, available in English and Spanish. It also comes with a Study Guide. The document calls the church to:
"1. Recognize, name and root out the violence and its sources wherever it is happening. 2. Ensure care and create safe communities that foster healing. 3. Provide education. 4. Create accountability."
How can you help? Learn more about gender-based violence and how to be an ally. Share what you find on social media and with friends. You can also advocate for legislation that supports victims and survivors. Talk openly about gender-based violence—including in sermons—to help reduce the stigma. You can also wear black on Thursdays in solidarity with people across the world (more info below). If you think someone you care about could be in an abusive relationship, research how to best support them. Addressing it directly with them may not be helpful.
Abusive relationships can involve people of all genders. Warning signs include: exhibiting controlling behavior, professing very strong feelings very early in the relationship, expecting their partner to be perfect, blaming other people rather than taking responsibility for their actions, being hypersensitive or exhibiting mood swings, isolating their partner from their support networks, and degrading their partner verbally.
16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, Human Rights Day. The advocacy campaign calls for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. The global theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls.”