The church must be a safe place for victims of sexual and gender-based violence to share their stories and seek support. It is our responsibility to help end domestic violence. Even if we do not know their faces, victims and batterers alike sit in our pews and worship within our walls. Whether we want to be or not, the Church is at the front lines of this issue.
Learn more about how you can be a support and an advocate for the people in your congregation and community.
Speak Out Sunday
We’re calling all congregations to dedicate the second Sunday in October as Speak Out Sunday – a day for dialogue, teaching, prayer and action around sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and its prevention.
This date coincides with the United Nations “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women” and the Center for Women’s Global Leadership’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. Speak Out Sunday is the faith community’s way of uniting with and amplifying these global efforts.
Be a DV resource in your community
- If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please seek help immediately. You can call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
- Hotlines for further support:
- Addressing Domestic and Sexual Violence: Tools for Faith Leaders - Check out our library of presentations to assist clergy and lay leaders in addressing domestic and sexual violence.
Read & Share
- Domestic Violence: Congress, the NFL, and the Church: Commentary by Kristen Walling, UCC Public Policy Fellow
- Forgiveness and Domestic Violence: A sermon by Amber Neuroth, a UCC pastor in Virginia.
- Jesus, Priest and Victim: A Litany for UCC Domestic Violence Awareness Month by UCC Rev. Aleese Moore-Orbih
- Worship Resources to End Domestic Violence from the World Council of Churches
Teen Dating Violence Awareness
Our religious heritage compels and guides us in creating a safe environment where people can come to understand and respond to the challenges facing them as sexual beings.
Here are some resources geared toward teens for health sexuality education and anti-violence awareness and training."
Our Whole Lives – Resources for Grades 7-9
Check out the second edition of the UCC/UUA sexuality education program Our Whole Lives geared toward youth in grades 7 to 9. The second edition introduces new content, activities, perspectives, language, and resources that will help today's young teens make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior by providing accurate, age-appropriate information. New topics in the second edition include
- Bullying and bystander responsibilities;
- Sexuality, social media, and the Internet;
- Body image; consent education; and communicating with a sexual partner.
Amy Johnson, our UCC Our Whole Lives coordinator, has written several helpful articles on teen dating violience:
- Let's talk about sex ... and consent
- Scary stats: Teen break-ups and domestic violence
- Standing on the side of love
Resources from Partners
- Break the Cycle has some excellent resources for empowering youth to end DV. Their mission is to inspire and support young people to build healthy relationships and create a culture without abuse.
- Love Is Respect - Teens can text "LOVEIS" to 22522 or call 1-866-331-9474 to chat with a trained peer advocate and get more info.
Why does the United Church of Christ Work on sexual and gender-based violence?
We are people of the New Covenant: Jesus' teachings call us to oppose violence and abuse at all levels of our life. His attitude toward women and children was one of compassion and caring, and his outrage at the abuse he saw in the Temple surely parallels our outrage at violence against the most sacred of temples, the human person.
We are called by our Baptism to respond to that abuse, for by Baptism, we are One in the body of Christ. When any member of that body is abused or violated, the whole of Christ's body is injured. As members of that body, we are called to seek justice, but not revenge, to righteous anger, but not blind rage. We are called to works of compassion, justice, and mercy; we are called to pastoral and prophetic ministries in response to victims of violence. We are called as a Church to be a sanctuary for those who are abused.
Jesus foreshadowed this ministry in his story of the Good Samaritan, who cared for one victimized by the violence of his society. Among us today the victims of violence and abuse lie by the side of the road: beaten, humiliated, bruised, and exploited. Too often the Church, like the Priest and the Levite of the Gospel story, has passed by on the other side. We are called to be the Samaritan-to support, shelter, love, and heal those who are victims of violence. (The Pronouncement On Violence In Relation To Women, General Synod 14)
General Synod Statements on sexual and gender-based violence:
- Resolution On Violence In Relation To Women, General Synod 13
- The Pronouncement On Violence In Relation To Women, General Synod 14