The global pandemic of violence against women and children, especially intimate violence often justified on traditional or religious grounds, must be stopped. To this end, Center for Partnership Studies president and noted author, Riane Eisler, and Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams founded the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence.
The SAIV story begins in Nazi Austria when the Gestapo arrested Riane Eisler’s father. On Crystal Night, the seven-year old Riane saw her mother stand up against the violence and injustice that threatened her family. Riane’s mother spoke not out of hate, but out of love and truth. Her spiritual courage worked a miracle. Riane’s father was eventually released, and a short time later the family was able to escape to Cuba.
Riane Eisler has devoted her life to the shift from a “domination” system of relating to one another and to Earth to a more equitable “partnership” system. Her vision of partnership spirituality does not place man and religion over woman and nature; it is both immanent and transcendent. Her books The Chalice and the Blade, Sacred Pleasure, and The Real Wealth of Nations all speak to this spirituality that informs our day-to-day lives with caring and empathy, fostering basic standards of human rights and responsibilities.
A central finding from Eisler’s research is a link between top-down, war-like regimes and the oppression of women. A pioneer in advancing women’s and children’s human rights, Eisler calls on us to recognize that what we call “women’s issues” and “children’s issues” are central to human rights, prosperity, and peace for everyone. Where the human rights of women and children are respected and protected, communities, nations, and Earth thrive.
The goal of SAIV is to build a cooperative coalition of unprecedented breadth and depth to strengthen and empower the efforts of faith groups, non-profit partners, and individuals to end the global pandemic of violence against women and children. The formation of the SAIV Council (see left panel) is a first step in this direction.
SAIV is now developing initiatives in several communities for a strategic coalition building initiative, beginning in Portland, Oregon, “A Community Inspired to SAIV.” Additional SAIV strategic partnerships are emerging in New York City, Boston, and Atlanta through local educational institutions, women’s organizations, and seminaries. SAIV is also exploring collaborations around the world.
We invite you to use the many resources available at www.saiv.org – and to join with us in SAIV to build a more just, peaceful, and caring world.