(The following is taken from the Spring issue of VOICE, the newsletter of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. Link to the full article here, by Rhonda Case and Randy Ellison, Co-coordinators of “We Will Speak Out” in Oregon. Rhonda is the Portland Liaison for SAIV in Oregon.)
We are building a movement! Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and IMA World Health share a hope and a vision: that Oregon will become a model—perhaps even the flagship state—in the U.S. campaign of We Will Speak Out, as our faith communities enter fully into the growing movement to end domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and all forms of intimate violence.
One in three women worldwide, one in five girls and one in six boys under the age of 18 are victims of sexual and gender-based violence. These crimes take lives, crush spirits, and can destroy the hope and wellbeing of an individual for her/his entire life.
To remain silent is to condone this violence. We consider it our duty as people of faith to step intentionally into the work of prevention and to walk humbly with survivors on their healing journey. To do so, we must begin to normalize talking about abuse in our places of worship. Only in this way can we create a safe community for our children to thrive and open the door so that survivors may ask for help and regain their hope. In their 2014 poll of pastors, Sojourners and IMA World Health learned that 80 percent of clergy said they would do more if given the necessary tools and training.
Download their report “Broken Silence” at wewillspeakout.org.
On November 23, 2014, faith leaders from a wide variety of denominations in cities all over Oregon and around the United States courageously addressed their congregations from the pulpit or started discussions in adult education classes on the subject of sexual and gender-based violence.
Some of the sermons preached that day, along with music, prayers and liturgical tools used, are now available in a resource guide entitled Oregon Speaks Out: Resources for Faith Communities to Speak Out About Intimate Violence, edited by Rhonda Case and Randy Ellison, Co-Coordinators for “We Will Speak Out” in Oregon.
We hope that these stories and actions will inspire you to take steps with us to make a “Speak Out Sunday” or “Speak Out Sabbath” event part of your congregation’s calendar and ministry in 2015.
(The 85 page Resource Guide – OREGON SPEAKS OUT! – is available as a PDF document at the following link. Please feel free to share.)