Memory and Celebration
By: Odete Liber de Almeida Adriano
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope” (Lm 3:21)
In 1991, women from different countries, gathered by the Rutgers University Global Women’s Leadership Center in the USA, launched the “16 Days of Activism for Ending Violence Against Women” campaign. This initiative began to promote awareness and denounce the various forms of violence against women in the world. The date chosen for the Campaign is very symbolic, since it begins on November 25 – declared the International Day of Non-Violence against Women – and ends on December 10 – the International Day of Human Rights, linking the struggle of violence against women and human rights.
The 16 days of activism” are also a reminder of memory and celebration. Memory in the sense of remembering the women of the past who fought and gave their lives on behalf of us, for without them we would still be in the silences of dark, opaque and lifeless corridors. These women had different faces, color and social classes. They were like our grandparents, aunts, and mothers caring for and encouraging us with their attentive eyes to see that we are on the way to a more equitable, more dignified, more welcoming and more humane world. We celebrate and remember that the lives of these women encourage a walk just begun, because it is necessary to move forward.
To move forward we remember that violence against women is also a political violence, because it affirms the social, cultural, and religious issue of domination of men over women. It is necessary to speak about this issue, to remember it, not to lose sight of it. As Anglican women, we must to be united and continue to raise up our voices against violence, including institutionalized violence against women worldwide. In Brazil, advances have been made due to affirmative policies, but they are being gradually withdrawn by the government nowadays. In that sense, we occupy a place where violence against women reaches very high levels and women are always blamed for it.
Despite the pains, struggles, and challenges, we can not be discouraged or despair, but we move forward. After all, we must dream from what has already been lived and heard. We continue to dream, because of the possibilities of the future, asking God to stand up and defend his people, especially women. This is the contribution that we have today to leave for our generation and for future generations: the perspective that we already live good days, and that we have already experienced in our past the tangible presence of God. We have been delivered. Although it seems frightening to women today, we can wait for the promise that the dream will come true in the future. It is important to keep telling, remembering, believing, doing, and fighting… The dream is a journey of faith that goes by day to day, with the anchors of the past and the tools of the future. Because the dream comes from the perspective of the kingdom, it is happening, though not yet… The dream is like the Kingdom of God. That’s why we women, are more together, and together we can do more!