From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
PC(USA) COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
05 May 1996 08:07:02
95067 PC(USA) COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
By Julian Shipp
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Churchwide Ecumenical
Decade Committee has determined that the denomination's primary focus for
the second half of the World Council of Churches (WCC) "Ecumenical Decade:
Churches in Solidarity with Women" will center on violence against women.
The committee defines such violence as attitudes and actions that
demean or dehumanize women psychologically, physically, economically,
spiritually, racially and sexually, among other ways.
"Globally, the World Council of Churches encouraged all its member
denominations to do a mid-decade evaluation (conducted in 1993), which was
reported all around the globe," said the Rev. Susan Craig, associate
director for women's ministries in the National Ministries Division. "And
all the reports kept violence against women really high [as a needed
Statistics compiled by the Presbyterian United Nations Office in New
York indicate much work remains nationally and worldwide in addressing
violence against women. The findings show:
*In Africa, more than 80 million women have endured sexual mutilation
through the process of female circumcision.
*In the United States, 4,000 women are beaten to death each year by
*Worldwide, more than 80 percent of refugees are women and children.
*Each year, worldwide, at least 500,000 women die from complications
due to pregnancy and another 100,000 as a result of unsafe abortions.
The committee, which met Feb. 23-27 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was
co-moderated by two Presbyterian elders: Alice Nishi from Davis, Calif.,
and Manley Olson from St. Paul, Minn. The 1988 General Assembly elected
the committee to spearhead Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) participation in
the WCC program.
The group's agenda included planning consultations and activities for
the second half of the decade and meetings with area Presbyterian and
interfaith groups for listening to and sharing concerns violence against
Nishi said the committee's future efforts will include theological
studies from the perspectives of women here and abroad. She said resources
to help men counter violent behavior toward women and other men are also
"We want the church to be involved since the definition of violence'
is so broad," Nishi said. "It's not a situation of women for women, but
it's the church in solidarity with women. And that includes men as well."
The United Nations is now in its third Decade for Women with its
Fourth World Conference on Women to be held next September in Beijing. The
third conference, held in 1985 in Nairobi, concluded that women globally
were less well off than they were at the time of the first conference in
After the U.N. called for its third Decade for Women, the WCC
established its own Decade to call Christian churches to accountability
with regard to women's global issues.
The WCC's Decade, which began in 1988, ends in 1998. Following the
close of the decade, a follow-up meeting is planned in Zimbabwe.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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