Break The Silence Sunday is an effort to open up a conversation within the church about rape and sexual assault. Within the context of our faith communities we hope to
(1) acknowledge the reality of rape and sexual violence in our world;
(2) support survivors by creating a place where they can tell their stories, feel loved and supported,
and find encouragement on their healing journey;
(3) commit ourselves to the work of changing the world, creating a future where rape is a memory.
Why does this matter?
The most conservative estimates from the U.S. Department of Justice tell us that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 33 men will be victims of rape in their lifetimes. Let that sink in – twenty five percent of the women and three percent of the men you know! What those statistics don’t tell us though is how many rapes go unreported because of a victim’s fear, sense of shame, and overwhelming societal pressures. How many people aren’t able to talk about what has happened to them, don’t have a safe place to tell their story, don’t have someone they can trust to tell their story to?
In the Diocese of New York, Resolutions proposed by the Diocesan Task Force on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault that the Convention affirms General Convention Resolution 2022-C064, Break the Silence Sunday, and calls on churches to observe the Sunday closest to November 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence . This coincides with the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign of the UN that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
There are resources for churches to use on the Anglican Women's Studies Center website. These service resources and suggested readings have been prepared by the members of the Christian Network – Talanoa and commended to the Fiji Council of Churches for their use. All churches are invited to use them.