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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
25 November All day
The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based 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 deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”
Although men and children – both girls and boys – may be victims of domestic violence, overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence are women. Responsibility for prevention and for responding to the victims cannot be left to our social service organisations – a Church response must include action by parish communities.
“Domestic violence is at epidemic levels across Australia, creating vulnerability for women of all walks of life. For the past three years, one woman a week is murdered by her partner. This is a tragic epidemic that the Australian Catholic Church hasn’t addressed in a systematic manner...” –Liz MacKinlay, “Domestic Violence: Moving from Silence to Inclusion and Dialogue in the Australian Church”, in Still Listening to the Spirit: Woman and Man Twenty Years Later
As Bishop Peter A Comensoli (previously Bishop of Broken Bay now Archbishop of Melbourne) says in his introduction to the Broken Bay Diocese resource kit A Catholic Response to Domestic Violence:
“As Church, the living body of Christ, we cannot remain silent. We must collectively and personally denounce a violence which erodes the human person in every way. We must work to build communities of peace, safety, true reconciliation, and relationships that seek alternatives to violence. Pope Francis tells us ‘If violence has its source in the human heart, then it its fundamental that non-violence be practised before all else within families…’
I encourage you to do whatever you can to act on this issue. Do not be a bystander. Find out now what you can do to help those suffering in silence within your community.Broken Bay Diocese, A Catholic Response to Domestic Violence