2 weeks ago I got a phone call at the office. The caller was arranging an event as part of the global movement One Billion Rising.
This movement is a response to the estimated reality that one in three women will someday be the victim of gender-based violence. One in THREE!
SO who do you know? WE all know many women. Who do you know who has been the victim of violence, of rape, of domestic abuse, of sexual harassment.....?
It is sobering isn't it?
The caller wanted to use the church space for a time to do this dance:
Now congregational policy is that non-congregational events need to provide proof of insurance and that would likely sink something like this. But congregational sponsored events are under our umbrella. And it struck me that this was a very good event for the congregation to sponsor. SO I contacted the decision makers in the congregation to see if there were any objections to making this a congregation-sponsored event.
To tell the truth, had people objected I would have been both very surprised and very disappointed. This is the sort of issue that churches need to be making statements about. So I was pleased when the primary response I got back was basically "how can we NOT do this". (Also one of the goals our Council has set for the year is to increase visibility/build connections with the wider community so this fit right in)
Today was the event. At first the plan was to use the basement (better space for dancing) but the technical requirements for viewing video and hearing music pushed it up to the sanctuary. And I am so glad we did that. It makes a much different statement to use the worship space for this event, a much more powerful statement in my opinion. We gathered and the first thing we did was watch this video:
Then one of teh local dance instructors taught us the dance and we danced. They even videoed it:
IT went well. I am glad we did it.
But really. 1 in 3 women! We all know them. They are our neighbours, our friends, our co=workers, our family. As we danced today I thought of the woman I knew who had been raped once and then had a series of bad relationships (which included more than one date-rape). I thought of the women I worked with who had been sexually harassed by other people with whom we worked.
1 in 3. Far too many. It needs to stop. God help us, and it will.