Dear Esteemed Religious Leaders:

While individuals, societies and authorities alike are still struggling with the unprecedented changing reality that has emerged from the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is already clear that the spread of the lethal virus has not spared a single sector of society from drastic consequences. Like every crisis, this crisis also has had cataclysmic implications on gender equality and the protection and upholding of women rights.

Even before the pandemic, gender-based violence had been and still continues to be a tragic reality in every country across the globe. Too often it remains a hidden issue, without efficient and trustworthy support structures for those affected, leaving survivors silenced, blamed, or stigmatised.

We all bear a responsibility to speak out against rape and violence, to ensure that women and men, boys and girls, are safe from violence in homes, schools, work, streets – in all places in our societies. To this end, Religions for Peace is joining the global Thursdays in Black campaign in partnership with the World Council of Churches to raise awareness and advocate to end sexual and gender-based violence and to promote gender justice, especially through the leadership and inspiration of religions and religious people.

Religions for Peace and the World Council of Churches invite you to actively join this cause by wearing black on Thursdays to declare you are part of the global movement resisting attitudes and practices that permit rape and violence. We encourage you to promote this campaign and speak out against gender- based violence. Please use the hashtags #ThursdaysinBlack, #religions4peace and #WCC, when sharing your participation via social media.

By supporting Thursdays in Black, we stand:

  • In solidarity with 1 in 3 women worldwide who face violence in their lives.
  • In protest against systems and societies that encourage violence in any form.
  • In mourning for men, women and children who are harmed and killed in sexual violence.
  • For awareness and knowledge about the challenges of sexual and gender-based violence.
  • In the hope that a different reality is possible.

Let us together stand united against all forms of gender-based violence and in support of victims and survivors to ensure all members of society live in peace and safety.

 

Prof. Azza Karam
Secretary General
Religions for Peace

Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
Acting General Secretary
World Council of Churches