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Taking action against gender–based violence: how you can take part

16 Days of Activism start on Thursday, 25th November with Global Day on Saturday, 27th November

16 Days of Activism against Gender–Based Violence is an international campaign, which takes place each year from 25th November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December (International Human Rights Day).

Throughout the campaign, we join with others globally to raise awareness of, and call for an end to, gender–based violence in all forms and in all societies.  16 Days is an extension of the day–to–day grassroots work of Mothers’ Union, where we work alongside communities to help end gender–based violence and to support those affected by it.

Gender–based violence was recently highlighted in the Church and Society Commission’s report to General Synod, by speakers from the Mothers’ Union.

What will happen on the Global Day, Saturday 27th November?

Our Global Day is Mothers’ Union’s response to the call for 16 Days of Activism against Gender–Based Violence.  It is centred around the disturbing figure that “1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced domestic or sexual abuse” and that Mothers’ Union as a leading women’s organisation believe this to be unacceptable.

This year, we are coming together and marking this day by wearing a purple scarf.  We will gather, where possible, for a three–minute silence at 1.03pm (linking to the 1 in 3 theme).  Join us locally for these special events to mobilise concern and action:

Armagh – Prayer Vigil and Breakfast in Armagh City Hotel

Cashel, Ferns & Ossory – Service of Contemplation and Prayer at St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny (12.45pm)

Clogher – St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen, with Bishop Ian Ellis (12.30pm – 1.15pm)

Connor – All Saints’ Parish Church, Eglantine Road, Lisburn (12.45pm; to be live–streamed)

Derry & Raphoe – Service of Contemplation and Prayer at St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry (12.45pm; to be live–streamed)

Down & Dromore – Global Day event at St Mark’s Church, Dundela (12.45pm)

Dublin & Glendalough – Global Day event with Mary Kennedy to focus on the impact of domestic abuse on children

Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh – Global Day event at St John’s Cathedral, Sligo

Limerick & Killaloe – Prayer Vigil in St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick (3.00pm; to be live–streamed)

Find out more on the 16 Days page on the All–Ireland Mothers’ Union website or from your diocesan Mothers’ Union.

How can I use the Prayer Diary?

The All–Ireland Mothers’ Union 16 Days Prayer Diary is a captivating and compelling set of reflections, exploring gender–based violence.  This is a timely resource, given these pandemic times which have provided testimony to a disturbing “shadow pandemic”. In Ireland alone, Women’s Aid has seen a 43% increase in calls to their helplines since March 2020.

If you would like to undertake this journey of reflection, prayer and action, copies may be ordered from Mothers’ Union at allireland.mothersunion@gmail.ie – postage costs will apply.  It may also be downloaded here:

The articles and reflections contained in the Prayer Diary set gender–based violence in the context of our faith, raise awareness of the problem and helps us recognise that this is not somebody else’s problem but it is ‘our’ problem together.

It draws its readers into reflection and prayer accompanied by simple points of action.  In addition to highlighting the issues involved, it reveals the positive work taking place across the Church of Ireland in engaging with domestic abuse and gender–based violence.

Contributors include GFS, Protestant Aid, the Church and Society Commission, the Church of Ireland Marriage Council, CRiTiCALL and Bishop’s Appeal who highlight Mothers’ Union, Tearfund and Christian Aid supported projects.

What other resources and initiatives are available?

Midday Prayers are available on the Mothers’ Union Facebook page and many of these videos are also available on the Mothers’ Union YouTube channel.

You can also check out our four–page newsletter – Irish SPIN (Social Policy In the News) – which highlights related resources, including MindMattersCOI, using Fairtrade purchasing to tackle human slavery and improve working practices, and the Children’s Rights Alliance campaign.

In any week of the year, you can take a stand by taking part in Thursdays in Black.  This is a global initiative, initiated by the World Council of Churches, seeking a world without rape and other forms of violence.  The campaign is simple but profound. Wear black on Thursdays. Wear a pin to declare you are part of the global movement resisting attitudes and practices that permit rape and violence. Show your respect for women who are resilient in the face of injustice and violence. Encourage others to join you.


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