Bishop of Down & Connor Pledges Support for Women’s Aid White Ribbon Sunday
The Most Reverend Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor has joined with Father Eugene O’Hagan of classical singing ensemble The Priests to support Women’s Aid ABCLN’s White Ribbon campaign and sign the White Ribbon Charter pledging to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
Father O’Hagan who has produced a video supporting the campaign says “White Ribbon Sunday takes place in churches across Northern Ireland on Sunday 29th November following UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and during 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.”
“Its message is simple – by wearing the White Ribbon you are making the pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.”
“Domestic abuse is not confined to a small section of our community. Victims and perpetrators come from all walks of life, and no religious denomination is exempt. The code of silence which lets this issue continue, which to this day goes unchallenged, must stop now.”
The White Ribbon campaign is a global movement to end male violence against women. It was formed in 1991 by a group of men in Canada to send out the message that male violence against women in all its forms is unacceptable.
“We know that one in four women are affected by domestic abuse in their lifetime and having this knowledge means staying silent is not an option. The aim of this campaign is to bring this issue to the light. We need local churches to stand with us and help create a society where all women can live in safety, free from violence and abuse.”
“Many victims of domestic abuse sit in church pews every Sunday. You know them but you may not know what they are living with. Restrictions aimed to stop the spread of Coronavirus mean victims of domestic abuse are more at risk than ever. They are isolated in their homes with their perpetrators.”
“There have been five domestic homicides and over 8,000 domestic abuse incidents reported to the police in Northern Ireland since the Covid-19 lockdown began. This is only the tip of the iceberg as many incidents will have gone unreported through fear of further harm.”
“It is to all victims of domestic violence and abuse that feel they are alone and are too frightened to speak out that we want to reach out to today. We must let them know they are not alone. Help and support is available.”
Father O’Hagan has appealed to churches saying “What will you do as a congregation to support the White Ribbon campaign and what can you do as an individual? We believe that everyone can, and should – do something.”
Bishop Treanor signed the White Ribbon Charter campaign along with Fr O’Hagan giving his support to the campaign and says “I wish Women’s Aid and the pledge to ‘never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women’ every success as we approach White Ribbon Sunday.”
White Ribbon Sunday takes place on Sunday 29th November and churches are encouraged to share the video produced by Fr O’Hagan with their congregation during on-line services to raise awareness about domestic abuse.
For more information and to take part in White Ribbon Sunday you can call Women’s Aid ABCLN White Ribbon Co-ordinator on 028 25 632136 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.