Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Church urges men to take stand against gender-based violence

The Church of England's parliamentary body today condemned all forms of gender-based violence.

A haunting debate on the issue took place on the first day of the General Synod in London.

The Synod approved a motion moved by Philip Fletcher, chair of the Mission and Public Affairs Council appealing to the Church to act further to combat gender-based violence.

The motion was preceded by a presentation to the Synod by Mandy Marshall, co-director of Restored, a coalition of organisations that are committed to ending gender-based violence.

In the presentation, Ms Marshall called on the Synod to urge the Church to take seriously 'the devastating issue of gender based violence".

She told how "one in four women in the UK will suffer abuse in their lifetime", and that "two women a week are killed by their partner or former partner in the UK".

She then presented the context in which she called the Church to act in addressing gender-based violence, including recent UN legislation and a heightened recognition of all forms of abuse.

"Gender-based violence is all of our responsibility," she said.

Mr Fletcher moved the motion, inviting Synod "to take this opportunity for the Church of England to stand with the Provinces of the Anglican Communion, recognising our common life in Christ and our urgent desire to work towards a world free of gender-based violence".

The motion, which was overwhelmingly approved, moved "that this Synod, believing that all people are made in the image of God and that all forms of violence based on gender represent an abuse and violation of that image".

It expressed support for measures to bring perpetrators to account and change their lifestyles, and initiatives to "encourage boys and men to stand against gender-based violence".

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