November 25th 2016
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
“We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced”
And Jesus said: “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”
Gospel of Mark 5, 34
We have gone through difficult days in Brazil with the resurgence of a wave of political, religious and social conservatism, in which society achievements since democratization in the late 80’s have been rapidly and authoritatively reverted.
Within this scope, there has also been a serious reversion of values, such as gender equality and trivialization of violence against women. Brazilian women has built at a high cost their empowerment process in order to face a culture that attributes to them roles of subservience in family, work, churches and society. Advancements have been made with much struggle from several social movements they have organized. Public policies most recently in Brazil have been built despite of all resistance from a chauvinistic, judgmental and selfish elite.
The deposition of the first women president in the history of the country was carried out by a white-rich-chauvinistic collusion that today is feeding an illegitimate government that very rapidly has been destroying rights, dignity and equality of gender. The issue both of women dignity and their full rights to a real joint citizenship with men has been under constant risk and – what is even more impressive – with the support of chauvinistic, racist and xenophobic nature.
More than ever, the key word is to resist and innovate. The destruction of acquired rights can only be avoided if we join forces around a common ground and, by all means, resist to any attempt of actions that oppress the poor, indigenous, black people and women. It is they who pay the price of discrimination and inequality. They not only have their bodies dominated by the culture of rape, but also their souls, through ideological repression of fundamentalist religions.
Alongside women, segments such as LGBTI people have been constant victims of homophobia that strips rights and exposes them to the risk of physical violence, unjustified and dangerously overlooked by society. In this sense, our Church have been combining efforts along with organized groups of rights defense such as ABRAFH – Associação Brasileira de Famílias Homo afetivas (Brazilian Association of Homo-Affective Families), to promote ecumenical events in several capitals, some of them to be held in Anglican parishes on December 10th.
In the context presented, I challenge all people from all beliefs, leaderships and communities, to build a pastoral program of “Safe Church”, a proposal born at the 15th Meeting of the Anglican Advisory Board (AAC Resolution 16.25, year 2012): “Churches will be sanctuaries if they consciously become reliable and safe for each and every everyone who has hit their limits, particularly members of the most vulnerable communities”.
Men and women are called to build a new paradigm of society, a paradigm of respect, gentleness and complicity. I urge our communities of faith to get together in prayer and action against all kinds of violence. This is a call from God and a mission to the church, so it may dignify human life and build a culture of peace and equality.
Against the culture of rape!
Against institutional chauvinism!
Against the oppression towards the poor!
For a just and solidary society!
From your Primate
Francisco de Assis da Silva
Primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil
Diocesan in Santa Maria