The World Council of Churches (WCC) is highlighting the links between the household of God, and the fundamental need to make our homes safe and loving spaces during 16 Days Against Gender-based Violence. “16 Days” is an annual international campaign that begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day.
“We know that for too many women, the home is a violent place. We also know that sexual and gender-based violence can happen anywhere,” Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary, said. “By linking the diverse work we do in our ‘house’ at the Ecumenical Centre, the WCC aims to highlight how each of us can and must speak and act against violence in all we do.”
Under the theme, “From Our House to Yours: 16 Days against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence”, WCC staff in different programmes will respond to the impact of sexual and gender-based violence in our contexts of work and ministry. The WCC will look at what can make all areas of “our house” and “your house” safe and positive: where we communicate with friends and families, grow, prepare and eat food, enjoy company, rest, work, pray and meditate, and manage our family life.
“WCC staff in all our programmes are very involved in Thursdays in Black and other initiatives against gender-based violence,” said Marianne Ejdersten, WCC director of Communication. “So for the first time in marking these 16 Days, we have invited different staff teams to reflect and act during 16 days based on their area of work.”
Ejdersten noted that this is also an opportunity to emphasize the link between oikos (house) and oikoumene (the whole inhabited world). As Philip Potter, former WCC general secretary, stated, “The ecumenical movement (the oikoumene) is the means by which the churches that form the house, the oikos of God, are seeking to live and witness before all peoples.”