On the Wings of a Dove

A worldwide campaign on Overcoming Violence Against Women and Children

16 DAYS: 25 November - 10 December, 2004

25 November to 10 December each year mark The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. The 16 Days movement is an international campaign which began in 1991. Every year, all around the world, imaginative action by grassroots organisations and women's networks raises awareness, and inspires change, to overcome different forms of violence against women.

  • November 25 is the anniversary of the brutal murders of three sisters in the Dominican Republic in 1960 and has been designated UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
  • December 10 is International Human Rights Day, a sign of the fact that violence against women is a violation of human rights.

The 16 Day period also includes World AIDS Day (1 December) and the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre (6 December), when a man gunned down 14 women engineering students.

In 2004, there will be a special campaign addressed to the churches to share in the 16 Days - On the Wings of a Dove, within the frame of the Decade to Overcome Violence. This campaign from 25 November-10 December 2004 falls during the season of Advent, when we prepare for the incarnation of God's peace in our world.

Objective: To engage the churches in developing pastoral and practical responses and actions to overcome violence against women through a 16 day global campaign.

Vision: Recognizing the potential of world religions to unmask the many forms of violence against women and children prevalent in family, church and society the churches are charged to:

  • provide safe spaces for telling stories of suffering, survival and resistance
  • link with other groups and movements, international organisations working to overcome violence against women and children
  • make alliances with other faith communities to address this common concern
  • expose church practices and theologies that collude with the abuse of power and lead to violence
  • develop practical and pastoral responses towards justice and healing for survivors of violence; and counselling for perpetrators of violence.

The ways in which churches could respond to this call are many - here are some suggestions:

Give publicity to the global campaign and ensure that churches, local congregations and others plan events leading up to the campaign period, during the campaign period and after. Get information about the campaign into denominational, national and regional ecumenical newsletters Get the campaign into women's newsletters and get other church and secular women's organizations in the region involved. Each church/community is invited to identify the forms of violence against women and children they wish to address. Contribute to the WCC process of gathering of stories of good practice of churches, their strategies, official church statements or statements of workshops, consultations, symposia done locally, nationally and regionally. Ensure media coverage, including Christian media Prepare worship resources - liturgies, rituals of healing, Bible studies, collections of prayers, poems Prepare daily meditation books to highlight the commitment to women and children. Church communities everywhere are invited to plan now to be part of the On the Wings of a Dove campaign. During the 16 Days, a wide variety of services, events and activities will be encouraged. Resource materials to assist preparation - prayers & other worship materials, ideas for special activities etc - are becoming available, and can be found on the "Resources pages" of this website.

My heart is torn with anguish
and the terrors of death come upon me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me
and I shudder from head to foot.
Oh that I had the wings of a dove
to fly away and be at rest!
But I will call upon God;
Yahweh will save me.

(Psalm 55: 4-6 & 16)