Why is gender-violence an important issue for churches?
Bishop Dr Bedford-Strohm: This issue can hardly be overestimated. Sexual violence against women and children is such a burning issue, especially for the churches due to two reasons. First, it is a topic still swept under the rug in societies and, sometimes, especially in churches. What should not be, cannot be. It is so important to provide safe spaces for victims of sexual violence so they can talk about what happened, and those who committed those crimes can be held responsible.
Secondly, churches are especially called to address this issue because they claim to be places in which the love of Jesus Christ is proclaimed and lived. It means moral bankruptcy if, under the wings of the churches, lives and souls are destroyed by sexual violence.
Why do you support Thursdays in Black?
Bishop Dr Bedford-Strohm: We must address this issue everywhere, and as clearly as possible. That is why I wholeheartedly support the campaign Thursdays in Black, and I ask you all to address the issue wherever you have the possibility. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself died as a victim of violence. That is why I believe that standing by victims of sexual violence today is witness to Jesus Christ.