Webinar about gender-based violence will bust myths, says WM

Webinar about gender-based violence will bust myths, says WM

‘Gender-based violence is not about anger or a lack of impulse control, it is premediated, deliberate and coercive,’ says Dr Natalie Thorburn from Women’s Refuge, who will be speaking at a special Salvation Army webinar on 5 December, as part of the worldwide movement, ’16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence’.

Women’s Ministries will host the online morning tea, interviewing experts in the field. Letitia Smith, CEO of City Women, will talk about her work in Fiji, where four out of five children have experienced some form of abuse. Captain Nikki Mellsop, corps officer at Waitakere Corps, will share their initiative in providing tools such as cell phones or helping with getting a car for women escaping violence.

Dr Thorburn will be busting some myths about gender-based violence—such as the belief that if a woman fights back, she is not a victim: ‘For every act of aggression, there is an act of resistance,’ she explains. ‘So, you often hear people say that they were both violent. If a man has been strangling a woman for three hours, and the police finally come and when she is safe, she gives him a slap in the face as she walks past, the police report will then say there was family violence between them. But, actually, he was still the aggressor, and she was defending herself,’ said Natalie, recalling a real-life situation.

Last year in New Zealand there were around 176,000 family harm investigations made by police. Studies show, however, that a huge 85 percent of women experiencing violence never actually call the police. It’s estimated that, in fact, around 35 percent of women experience physical harm, and 55 percent experience emotional or psychological abuse. That is over half of women in Aotearoa New Zealand

Violence against women is ‘one of the world’s most persistent violations of human rights,’ says the International Women’s Development Agency.

‘Gender-based violence is not only a justice issue, but also a faith issue,’ adds Ingrid Barratt of Women’s Ministries, who is organising the 16 Days events. ‘The creation story in the Bible shows us that God made men and women to be equal partners in every way: they co-shared stewardship over the animals and environment and lived in harmony together. It was only after sin entered the world, that the male–female partnership became corrupted by domination and submission,’ she says.

‘Male domination (also known as patriarchy) is the result of sin, not God’s will. As people of faith, we strive to recapture God’s intention for us: to live as partners in true equality, with equal status and an equal say over our lives.’  


WM invites all corps and centres to join in—either by holding their own morning tea or joining online. Find out more at:

women.salvationarmy.org.nz/unite-end-gender-based-violence

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