Thursdays in Black ambassadors have created a joint message, unifying their voices in support of “16 Days against Gender-Based Violence.”

The “16 Days” campaign is an annual international initiative that begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day. This year, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is highlighting the links between the household of God, and the fundamental need to make our homes safe and loving spaces.

In a unified statement, the 17 ambassadors reflect on why it is so important to protect those who are vulnerable and abused. “We can create safe spaces for all people who are targets of this violence, especially women and girls in our societies,” reads the message. “We should promote transformative masculinities and femininities based on respect and equality.”

The message also honours resistance and resilience to violence, and expresses a vision of a world without fear of sexual and gender-based harassment, abuse and violence.

“And with ongoing physical restrictions due to the spread of the coronavirus, violence against women and girls has intensified,” the message reads. “The resolve to end gender-based violence must remain strong.”

The Thursdays in Black ambassadors, in their various spaces, are working to effect change in policies and practices in churches, workplaces and communities. “Together with the WCC we are actively involved in preparing liturgies and Bible studies, which challenge attitudes and norms that foster gender-based violence,” reads their message. “As people of faith and of goodwill, we appeal to individuals and community agencies to stop the spread of gender-based violence.

Full statement

Thursdays in Black Ambassadors

Dr Agnes Abuom, Moderator, World Council of Churches Central Committee

Rev. Claudia Bandixen, Switzerland

Rev. Michael Blair, General Secretary, General Council, The United Church of Canada

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Dr Chris Ferguson, General Secretary, World Communion of Reformed Churches

Ms. Larissa Aguiar Garcia, Brazil 

Rev. Dr Anders Göranzon, General Secretary of the Swedish Bible Society

Dr Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, Chief Executive, Rozaria Memorial Trust

Mr Jouni Hemberg, Executive Director, Finn Church Aid

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Mrs Alison Judd, World President, World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women

Rev. Dr Tapio Luoma, Archbishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland

Rev. Damon Mkandawire, Hospital Administrator, Mbereshi Mission Hospital, Zambia

Ms Hanbeet Rhee, Ecumenical Youth Council in Korea

Rev. Dr Karen Georgia Thompson, Associate General Minister for Wider Church Ministries and Operations and Co-Executive for Global Ministries, United Church of Christ

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, Presiding Bishop, Bishops’ Conference of the Church of Norway

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, Geneva Secretary, World Methodist Council

Source: Thursdays in Black Ambassadors: Joint Statement on 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence