Ending the War Against Women | Sojourners

Ending the War Against Women

Calling on the Spirit to help end violence against women

On June 3, 1990, the church celebrated Pentecost. Sojourners sponsored Peace Pentecost 1990"Breaking the Silence: A Call to End Violence Against Women." Worship services, vigils, and processions were held throughout the country.

In Washington, DC, we began our service at Luther Place Memorial Church. We followed with a procession to McPherson Square Park. Along the way we stopped four times: at Bethany Women's Shelter, where we focused on domestic violence; at The Washington Post building, where we made a note of the media's silence about incest; at an alley where a homeless woman had been raped; and at a video store whichlike most video storescarries a large selection of pornography. At each stop, we listened to statistics, then offered a litany and a refrain of the song, "O God, Give Us Power."

We concluded our service at the park, where we were moved and empowered by testimonies from survivors of the war against women. A bell was rung every three-and-a-half minutes throughout our service, a powerful reminder that every three-and-a-half minutes a woman is a target of rape or attempted rape in the United States. Below is the reflection offered by Joyce Hollyday at Luther Place Memorial Church.
—The Editors

When the day of Pentecost had come, the apostles were all together in one place" (Acts 2:1). So begins the Pentecost passage. In the verses preceding this one, the apostles are named: Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Thaddeus and Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Matthias, whom the others had chosen to replace their fallen brother, Judas. These men have personalities—we know during the ordeal they have just gone through who was courageous, who doubted, who denied.

And after the list of their names, the scripture tells us they were together "with the women" and Mary the mother of Jesus. These other women have no names. Like most of the women in the record of our faith, these remain marginal, unknown, present but unaccounted for.

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