Bishops support campaign against gender-based violence


Over 60 bishops across the UK will wear a white ribbon on Monday in support of a campaign dedicated to ending gender-based violence across the world.

25 November marks the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the anniversary of the assassination of the three political activist Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic in 1960.

Many bishops will be visiting local projects and taking to Twitter today to raise awareness for the campaign.

The Right Reverend Andrew Watson, chair of the Panel for World Mission and the Anglican Communion, has said he is "delighted" that so many bishops have decided to get involved.

He is a passionate campaigner against gender-based violence, calling it "a scourge on our world and our nation".

"Stories of forced marriages, female genital mutilation, prostitution rackets, and rape being used as a weapon of war are sickening both in their prevalence and their brutality; while here in the UK between a quarter and half of all women experience domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking at some point in their lives," he said.

He also recently spoke at a celebration event for Asha, a charity which empowers women to make a difference in their lives and communities in the slums of Delhi.

To mark White Ribbon Day, Bishop Watson will visit the Birmingham and Solihull Women's Aid, where he is expected to meet victims of abuse and those who support them.

Canon Janice Price, World Mission Adviser for Archbishops' Council, said it is vital to be standing in solidarity around the Anglican Communion on an issue which affects women in every culture.

A spokesman for the White Ribbon Campaign said it is crucial that the general public is made aware of the issues surrounding gender-based violence, and praised bishops for their support.

"Silence is not an option. Silence excuses violence against women. WRC needs men to swear the pledge, wear the ribbon and share the issues by becoming an ambassador and speaking out," said the spokesman.

"To have senior church leaders speaking out is a wonderful start in ending abuse."