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The One Billion Rising mass movement, involving an international day of action on 14 February 2013, has highlighted the need to tackle violence against women. It may require people of faith to look inwards as well as outwards.
Religious traditions, as well as empowering women and girls, men and boys to seek justice and live compassionately, have also been used to oppress. Examining how, sometimes unintentionally, faith communities have sometimes left women trapped in dangerous situations or silenced them may be uncomfortable. But it is necessary if violence is to be effectively countered.
For people of goodwill more generally, it is also important – if painful – to recognise that women sometimes collude in male violence against other women, for instance those of another nation, ethnic group or caste.
This is not simply because of fear of the consequences of resisting, which is understandable. Women, like men, are capable of bigotry or refusal to admit that what “our lads” are doing may be hugely damaging.
The day of action has been a welcome expression of solidarity among women and men opposed to male violence.
But to build on this so as to transform the world into a safe place for women and girls, it is important to address the complexities of the challenge.
* Visit the website: http://onebillionrising.org/
* One Billion Rising UK on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Billion-Rising-United-Kingdom/50296274...
* 'One Billion Rising: working together to end exploitation and domination', by Jill Segger: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/18001
* Millions join together to protest violence against women: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17999
* Westminster debates violence against women, but without ministers: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/18002
* One Billion Rising on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/OneBillionRising
(c) Savitri Hensman is a regular commentator on social justice, religion, politics, welfare, theology and church affairs. An Ekklesia associate, she works in the equality and care sector.Tweet