UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
General Council staff pose for a weekly social media photo. Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press; Courtesy of Justice@UCC

Anti-violence

Wearing ‘a colour of resistance’

By Kristy Woudstra


Every Thursday morning, Rev. Anne Hoganson chooses something black to wear. She does so not as a fashion statement, but to join people around the world calling for an end to violence against women. The advocacy campaign is simply called Thursdays in Black, but its history and meaning run deep.

“[Gender-based violence] is still such a taboo subject,” says Hoganson, minister of Halifax’s St. Paul’s United Church Spryfield. “We need to talk about it and break the barrier of silence.”

The World Council of Churches (WCC) started Thursdays in Black in the 1980s to “challenge attitudes that cause rape and violence.” According to Fulato Moyo, who spearheads the campaign, black was chosen “as a colour of resistance and resilience.” The inspiration to wear it on Thursdays came from Argentina’s Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a group of women who, in 1977, began taking a stand against political violence by marching every Thursday outside the presidential palace in Buenos Aires.

While individuals around the world have observed Thursdays in Black for decades, the WCC decided to revive it in 2013 during its 10th Assembly. At the time, Moyo described the campaign as a “united global expression of the desire for safe communities where we can all walk safely without fear of being raped, shot at, beaten up, verbally abused and discriminated against due to one’s gender or sexual orientation.”

To help amplify their message, participants now share photos with the hashtag #ThursdaysInBlack on social media sites. In solidarity, The United Church of Canada’s national office joined the effort more than a year ago. Until her contract ended in July, program co-ordinator Carmen Ramirez helped organize staff members for a weekly photo, which she shared on Facebook along with links to news stories that illustrate the problem.

The statistics are sobering. According to the United Nations, one in three women around the world experience sexual or physical violence. Fewer than 40 percent of victims seek help.

“[Violence against women] is not just here — it’s worldwide,” said Ramirez. “It’s happening all the time, and it’s happening way too often.”



Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image
Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: My Year of Living Spiritually

by Observer Staff

Anne Bokma left the Dutch Reformed Church as a young adult and eventually became a member of the United Church and then the Unitarian Universalists. Having long explored the "spiritual but not religious" demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.

Promotional Image

Faith

January 2018

In the beginning

by Alanna Mitchell

The award-winning science writer travels to northern Australia to explore the world's oldest creation story

Society

January 2018

The good death

by Pieta Woolley

Anglican professor Donald Grayston made dying in peace a lifetime project. His example is inspiring others to plan a meaningful exit.

Faith

January 2018

Me, Dad and the Almighty

by Anne Bayin

A preacher’s kid pretended to be a devout daughter, but secretly she felt lost in a wilderness of doubt.

Society

January 2018

The good death

by Pieta Woolley

Anglican professor Donald Grayston made dying in peace a lifetime project. His example is inspiring others to plan a meaningful exit.

Faith

January 2018

In the beginning

by Alanna Mitchell

The award-winning science writer travels to northern Australia to explore the world's oldest creation story

Faith

January 2018

Me, Dad and the Almighty

by Anne Bayin

A preacher’s kid pretended to be a devout daughter, but secretly she felt lost in a wilderness of doubt.

Promotional Image