December 10 - Day Sixteen

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“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”  Augustine of Hippo

“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage.  Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.”  Augustine of Hippo

“There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.”  Augustine of Hippo

With all that is going on in the country these days – including newspaper stories, TV portrayals, gossip columns, and tweets devoted to the subject of sexual harassment and assault – the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence takes on even more importance. It brings back memories of the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Pope John Paul II wrote a letter to those who attended that conference. It said, in part: “You would never be so low as to abuse women if you knew what they are and have been in the history of humanity. Women have contributed to that history as much as men and, more often than not, they did so in much more difficult conditions. I think particularly of those women who loved culture and art, and devoted their lives to them in spite of the fact that they were frequently at a disadvantage in education and opportunity. Women have been underestimated, ignored and not given credit for their intellectual contributions. Only a small part of their achievements have been documented and yet humanity knows that it owes a debt to the great immense, feminine tradition. How many women have been and continue to be valued more for their physical appearance than for their skill, their professionalism, their intellectual abilities, their deep sensitivity; in a word, the very dignity of their being!”

The Pope hit hard on the long and degrading history of violence against women in the area of sexuality. He stated that the time has come to condemn the types of sexual violence which frequently have women for their object and to pass laws which effectively defend them from such violence.

Remember, the words of John Paul II were written and disseminated more than 20 years ago. I am hopeful that what will come out of all of the turmoil of these past few months is that we will now help lead our community to create an environment in which domestic and sexual violence does not exist.

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart (and especially the hearts of the people of this land), that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)

Karen Patterson, Treasurer, NECW Board

Webmaster NECW