16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence – Singapore
November 25 - December 10
From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Currently, more than 3,700 organizations from approximately 164 countries participate in the campaign annually.
AWARE conducted a survey in 2013 which inferred that violence against women is a pressing issue in Singapore. 1 in 10 women in Singapore experience lifetime physical violence by a male (International Violence Against Women Survey, 2010). 6 in 10 victims of physical violence suffer repeated victimisation.
Outrage of modesty cases reported remain high between 1,369 and 1,450 over the past three years (Singapore Police Force, 2015).
Sexual Violence – Victim blaming attitude is common, 1 in 10 respondents think women who are raped are often “asking for it.” 40 percent of respondents aged 18-39 and over 50 percent of respondents aged 40 and above agree that women who wear provocative clothing are “asking for it” and should bear responsibility for harassment. Such victim-blaming attitudes contribute to restricting women’s sexual freedom, legitimising sexual harassment and resulting in unsupportive first response to victims.
o Raise public awareness on violence, with understanding that age, gender, and background affect beliefs and attitudes.
o Educate and inform bystanders with knowledge and tools to reduce violence against women.
o Provide social support for women in violent relationships so they have a choice to leave.
o Challenge beliefs and attitudes about gender roles and expectations, especially in men and youth
Whether or not you had been a victim, a witness or a perpetrator of violence or oblivious to issue, you can and must do your part to eradicate this menace that impedes peace and respect to humanity. Besides awareness, change of attitude, and respect for every human being, you can also pray often for victims who are hurting, and for perpetrators to cease their despicable actions.
We will pray for healing. Every time we welcome someone as they are, we are helping to heal. Every time we show friendship, inclusion and kindness, we are helping to heal. Every time we stand up for the dignity of someone’s culture and identity, we are helping to heal.
We pray: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God, our Loving Creator, you heal broken hearts with your love, and call us to share this love with one another. Open our hearts to your word that we might learn to walk in peace with one another along your healing path. We are sorry that we have not always loved our neighbour as ourselves, especially when we have failed to respect or have ignored our sisters and brothers who suffer or caused suffering. Forgive us and strengthen us that through our words and actions we may show that we are truly sorry for our actions and non-actions.
We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.
READING: From the prophet Isaiah (Is 41:10)
Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
God is always with us. He is our strength along the healing path.
o What can I do to help others to heal today?
o What kind word can I say to make someone feel welcome and remind them that they belong?
o Can I reach out in friendship to someone who needs help?
o Can I include someone in a game or a conversation?
o Can I hold the door for someone?
o Can I stand up for someone who is being teased?
All of these things can bring healing to our hearts, our families and society. Let us say, “Yes” to God’s call to help others heal.
Jesus taught us to call God, OUR FATHER. Let us be reminded that we are family as with confidence, we lift our hearts to Him: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
We also ask Mother Mary to pray for us and all who need healing and forgiveness: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
God of all people, we thank you for the gift of love. Help us to love our neighbour as ourselves so that everyone will respect each other and live in harmony enjoying the peace which Jesus came to give. We make our prayer in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.