E-174: Task Force on Gender Violence

Submitted by the 2012 Missouri General Convention Deputation
1. BE IT RESOLVED that this 174th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri recognize gender violence as a worldwide concern;
2. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Diocese of Missouri encourages Convention delegates to share a copy of the “Letter to Churches of the Anglican Communion from the Primates of the Anglican Communion” from the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin, Ireland, January 24-30, 2011 with their congregations;
3. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Diocesan Council hold an open meeting in 2014 inviting all persons interested in discussing issues of gender violence;
4. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Diocesan Council appoint a Task Force on Gender Violence to serve until the 176th Diocesan Convention of Missouri;
5. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force on Gender Violence provide resources and opportunities to educate the congregations of our diocese on issues of gender violence; and
6. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force on Gender Violence present a written report of its activities and accomplishments to the 175th and 176th Diocesan Conventions of Missouri.

  • A Letter to the Churches of the Anglican Communion from the Primates of the Anglican Communion following their Primates’ Meeting in Dublin, Ireland, between 24 and 30 January 2011
  • During our meeting we discussed the nature and prevalence of gender based violence.1 Building on consideration of the issue during the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa
(CAPA) conference of bishops in 2010, we shared stories of violence against women and girls from both the southern and northern hemispheres, including an account of unremitting
sexual violence against women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a legacy of conflict, and of domestic and many other forms of abuse in the United Kingdom and
other parts of the world. We acknowledged with grief that gender based violence is a global phenomenon and that all but a very small percentage of such violence is perpetrated by
men against women, with devastating effects on individuals, families and society.

  • In considering the pervasive nature of violence against women and girls, our churches must accept responsibility for our own part in perpetuating oppressive attitudes towards women.

  • In penitence and faith we must move forward in such a way that our churches truly become a living witness to our belief that both women and men are made in the image of God. To think and behave in ways that do not live out this belief but disempower and marginalise, is to mar the divine image and therefore to offend humanity and God.

  • In recent years we have seen a growing resolve in the Anglican Communion to engage with the eradication of gender based violence. In 2009 the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) resolved to support the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls and encouraged all Provinces to participate in programmes and events that promote the rights and welfare of women, particularly as expressed in the Beijing Platform for Action and the Millennium Development Goals. The ACC also called on the churches to take appropriate steps to assist the healing of indigenous families, including the protection of women and children from violence and human trafficking.2 The bishops gathered at the Lambeth Conferences of 1998 and 2008 considered violence within and beyond the Church and asked the churches to engage in raising public awareness about the victimisation and exploitation of women and children. We noted that several of the official Anglican Networks have raised violence against women and girls as a priority issue for their own memberships and for the broader Communion.
  • We were heartened to know that there is an increasing amount of work being undertaken in the Communion as churches engage with awareness raising, advocacy, changing attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence, the care and reintegration into society of victims/survivors of violence, and work To this end we have asked the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, in association with the Networks and the Anglican Alliance, to continue to map activities already responding to gender based violence, and to identify theological and practical resources and consider how these might be made broadly available for reference and adaptation in other local contexts.

  • As individual Primates we are committed, in each of our Provinces, to raise the profile of Millennium Development Goal 3 (‘Promote gender equality and empower women’); to
affirm and pray for God’s blessing on initiatives already in place in our dioceses and parishes in response to violence against women and girls; to gather other church and faith
leaders together to discern what we might say and do together; and to attend to the training of clergy and pastors so that they are aware of the nature and dynamics of gendered
violence and how certain attitudes and behaviours can be challenged and transformed. We are also committed to ensuring the development and accessibility of local, contextual and accessible resources, including liturgies, for example, for 25 November which is the annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women as well as White Ribbon Day,3 and the first day of the global ‘16 Days Activism for the Elimination of Violence against Women’. Furthermore, through teaching and example, we will work with our young people so that our boys and girls, young men and young women, are enabled to honour themselves and one another as human beings cherished equally by God, and empowered to be agents of change among their peers.
  • 1 Defined by the United Nations in 1993 as ‘…violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats
of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.’

  • 2 ACC Resolutions 14.33: International Anglican Women’s Network, and 14.19: Anglican Indigenous Network with perpetrators of violence. We thank God for these efforts and rejoice in them, and we commit to strengthening our mission and ministry in these areas.

  • 3 White Ribbon is a movement of men and boys against violence against women and girls.