Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Episcopal Women's Caucus Takes Stand Against Gender Violence

Episcopal Women’s Caucus marks 100th International Women’s Day with Plea to Church Leaders to Stand Against Gender Violence

The Episcopal Women’s Caucus is deeply concerned about the rise of sexism, misogyny, and violence toward women, manifested in the form of rape not only in our own society and military, but also as it is used against women and children as a tactic of war in other countries, the Caucus board told Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson, in a letter yesterday.

The Caucus Board called on Jefferts Schori and Anderson to bring these concerns to the next meeting of the Executive Council and to the Bishop Suffragan for Federal Ministries.

“It is our hope that the Executive Council would use its voice for the Episcopal Church to contact the President and those who hold governmental authority, calling on them to end the culture of rape in our military, create a climate of safety and equality for women who serve our country, and to speak out against the constant erosion of rights for all women. We would hope that the voice of Executive Council would take the form of a resolution at General Convention 2012,” the letter from the board said. To read the entire letter click here.

The Caucus board sent their letter to coincide with the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8 because, while women have achieved much, there is still much to do to end violence against women in the many forms it takes.

Some examples:

1 out of every 6 American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

1 in 3 women report having been sexually violated while serving in the military – a number the Pentagon admits is probably 20 percent of the number that actually occur.

Female recruits are now far more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed in combat.

A bill currently in the House of Representatives, ostensibly aimed at reducing federal funding for abortion, seeks to do so by limiting funding to cases of “forcible rape,” (which leads one to ask, “When is rape non-forcible”?)

The House of Representatives vote to end federal support for Planned Parenthood, an organization that each year provides more than 800,000 women with breast exams, more than 4 million Americans with testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and 2.5 million people with contraception.

“There is no ‘we’ and ‘they’ as far as violence against women is concerned. We are all sisters to each other, regardless of where we are born, how we are raised, how we look, what we do, or how young or old we are,” the letter stated.

“We ask that together you make a strong statement to our church, country and, yes, the world, which decries the culture of violence and disrespect of women in this country that results in the staggering statistics about rape; the use of rape of women and girls as a weapon against a people during war; and the continued abuse of victims through legislation,” the Caucus urged Jefferts Schori and Anderson.

The Episcopal Women’s Caucus is a justice organization that has been advocating for women since 1971, spiritually, theologically, politically.

Contact: Elizabeth Kaeton
Episcopal Women’s Caucus Convener
973 464 8018 (cell)

No comments: