Cathedrals join call for more action to tackle violence against women and girls

November 22, 2023

Three Scottish Episcopal Cathedrals are to offer gender justice prayer and awareness resources as part of the annual 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.

St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness, St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, and St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh will all host resources in their church buildings, which are open daily.

The 16 days campaign seeks to raise awareness that one in three women will experience violence at least once in their lives across the world. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘invest to prevent violence against women and girls’.

Churches in Scotland are calling for congregations to invest in a better understanding of the issue and for churches to do what they can to support anyone affected by violence. Joining the SEC in this campaign are Christian Aid; Integrity, the Church of Scotland’s Violence Against Women and Girls task group; and the Religious Society of Friends.

The Rev Canon Marion Chatterley (pictured), Vice-Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh said: “The Scottish Episcopal Church has a long history of supporting the 16 days of activism, and it’s striking to me that so many of the themes we have discussed over the years are still relevant (in some cases even more so) in 2023.

“Let’s not lose sight of what happens to women day after day. There are ongoing cases of sexual violence from men in the media and in public life, there are horrifying stories of gender-based violence in places across the world where conflict has flared up, and there are still the uncountable day-to-day aggressions faced by women in Scotland and around the World.

“As churches we are called to care for those in pain, and to show love to those who fear. I hope that St Mary’s, along with the other churches involved in this scheme, can be a source of practical support for women and girls suffering the affects of gender based violence, and a sign of our commitment as churches to do more to address gender based violence in our communities.”

To launch the campaign this year, there will be an ecumenical prayer service at 11am on Saturday, 25 November in St Mungo’s Cathedral, Glasgow to mark the start of the 16 days.

Rev Karen Hendry, a Church of Scotland minister who will be leading the service at St Mungo’s, said: “Across Scotland and around the world, women experiencing violence need to know that their lives matter. The 16 Days of Activism campaign seeks to make that loud and clear by connecting the issue of violence against women with human rights. This year we are called to invest and to set the agenda for much needed change in our cultures, behaviours and attitudes. The Church of Scotland’s violence against women working group, Integrity, are committed to being part of this initiative.”

Val Brown, Head of Christian Aid Scotland, said: “Gender justice is one of the core themes of Christian Aid’s global work. We’re honoured to be partnering with so many Scottish denominations to pray and raise awareness about this important issue.”