END IT NOW MARCH- FLORIDA LAKE
Break the Silence about Abuse
March With a Serious Message
By Lynn Rossouw, Marlene Johnson & Riaan Van Zyl
Florida Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church, situated on Ibis Street, Florida Lake – On Sabbath 25 August, 2012 Pastor Denzil Fourie, the current church pastor, the Women’s Ministries leader, Sis Marlene Johnson and the Transvaal Conference, AWM leader, Sis Lynn Rossouw took to the streets of Florida. They were followed by a singing and smiling crowd from Bosmont, Riverlea, Westbury, Davidsonville, and SDA Churches.
Lynn Rossouw, Ps Denzil Fourie and Marlene Johnson the main organisers
The police escorted marchers, carrying banners with the slogan enditnow, and posters with messages denouncing violence against women. It had a very serious message and mission: to make the public aware of gender violence.
Violence against women is perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today. Violence against women devastates lives, fractures communities and stalls development. It takes many forms and occurs in many places—domestic violence in the home, sexual abuse of girls in schools, sexual harassment at work, rape by husbands or strangers, in refugee camps or as a tactic of war.
The enditnow campaign seeks to extend God’s vision of love and compassion for all His children. It is an international initiative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and aims to also strengthen community networks to protect women who suffer violence and create platforms for groups and individuals to lobby government to generate policies against such violence.
By the time marchers reached Florida police station chanting their slogan, they were ready to handover a petition with just under a thousand signatures, advocating their commitment and part to ending violence against women and girls in the community.
They were warmly received by Captain Lydia Dikolomela to whom the memorandum and petition were handed over. She commenced to give the women a speech about the problem of Domestic Abuse, followed by a brief tour of the prison cells. To view a video clip of the march visit www.look-local.co.za
Contrary to the view of the family as a haven of love and support, data from around the world suggest that girls and women are at greater risk of violence in their homes than anywhere else (Violence Against Women: the Hidden Health Burden, World Bank 1994).
Violence against women and girls has become a problem of pandemic proportions. In South Africa a woman is killed every 6 hours by an intimate partner (Unifem fact sheet). South Africa has some of the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world with more than 67,000 cases of rape and sexual assaults against children reported in 2000. It is estimated that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read.
A study by Interpol, the international police agency, has revealed that South Africa leads the world in rapes. A woman was raped in South Africa every 17 seconds (Crime Statistics for South Africa 2010). This did not include the number of child rape victims. It was estimated that one in every two women would be raped. This means that on average approximately one thousand three hundred women can be expected to be raped a day in South Africa. These are the cold facts and realities that face women and girls in South Africa.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?
Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8, 9 (NKJ)
The Institute of Security Studies did a research project in 1999 and updated it in 2011. They found that:
- 90% of the women interviewed had experienced emotional abuse: being humiliated in front of others was most commonly reported.
- 90% had also experienced physical abuse: being pushed or shoved and being slapped or hit were highlighted.
- 71% had experienced sexual abuse: attempts to kiss or touch followed by forced sexual intercourse occurred most often.
- 58% experienced economic abuse: money taken without consent was most common.
- 42.5% of women had experienced all forms of abuse.
- 60% of all cases of abuse were committed by partners, lovers or spouses.
- -Emotional abuse-either as a category on its own or in combination with other types of abuse was referred to by 63% of women as being the most serious.
The Adventist Home – Coming closer to home, domestic violence has been documented as a major issue within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Research is showing that incidences of abuse in some Adventist homes follow trends documented in non-Adventist populations. This is why “enditnow” seeks to increase personal awareness, responsibility, and involvement to effectively help end violence against women and girls in every Adventist family and community.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY, and what does God require of us?
“Learn to do good; devote yourselves to justice, aid the wronged, uphold the rights of the orphan, defend the cause of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17 (Tanak – Jewish Scripture)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ( NKJ)
“I’m God and I act in loyal love. I do what’s right and set things right and fair, and delight in those who do the same things.” Jeremiah 9:24 (The Message)
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-9 (NKJ)
Let our PRAYER BE…
Gracious God, We know you are a God who is able. But today we come before you with heavy hearts. We will no longer ignore the abuses perpetrated against women. Empower us to help end violence against women. Give us the wisdom and the courage to end abuse—in our church and in our community. Remembering the immense value you, our Creator and Redeemer, place on each one of us, may we reflect your love. Give us knowledge, courage, wisdom, strength, and understanding. We ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Enditnow is the boldest stand the Seventh-day Adventist Church has ever taken regarding violence against women and girls.