In solidarity with women across the world Mothers’ Union is supporting the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign for the second year running with an All-Ireland Prayer Vigil. This prayerful, awareness raising initiative highlights and calls for an end to violence against women locally, nationally and internationally.
Mothers’ Union operates in 83 countries and has 4 million members worldwide. In support of stable family life, it is working to end violence against woman and girls through prayer, practical support and advocacy & campaigns.
Bev Julienne, Chief Executive of Mothers’ Union has this to say in a recent report,
“Globally, the single biggest issue affecting members and their communities is Gender Based Violence, and the Worldwide Trustee Board has affirmed that this should be the prime focus over the next Triennium, so that we can increasingly engage the voices of our 4 million members to make and impact.”
One in three women globally will experience some form of gender violence in their lifetime. Statistics show that one in five women in Ireland is affected by domestic violence. Since Women’s Aid started recording violence against women in 1996, 211 women have been murdered in Ireland, 55% of these killed by their husband or ex husband, partner or ex partner.
The impact of the work of Mothers’ Union is wide reaching. In many dioceses, members provide women’s shelters with food, toiletries and clothes. Some members provide direct support such as helping women to make phone calls and move home, providing babysitting and accompanying them to court hearings. A number of our members volunteer in Child Contact Centres. Mothers’ Union is also involved in lobbying governments and policy makers at local, national and international levels.
One worldwide example is Kenya, where Mothers’ Union have carried out extensive work in different communities to raise awareness and support for those who have experienced, or who are at the risk of genital mutilation. Following this work, coupled with other organisations, the Female Genital Mutilation Act outlawing the practice was introduced in Kenya.
Speaking recently, Phyllis Grothier, All Ireland President said that
“This is work that is at the very heart of Mothers’ Union; as we hear the voices of weeping and respond. We are offering a space where we bring before God those who are suffering from simply being. It is one of the most vital pieces of outreach we can offer. There are so many lobby groups around that, having built our campaign on God’s command, to love our neighbour as ourselves, the highlighting of our active praying through the Vigils is a wonderful opportunity to do this.”
Whilst much progress has been made there is still much to do! Mothers’ Union invites you to join them in their prayerful action at a diocesan venue near you.