Adventists Say End It Now!
Delegates at the AUC constituency meeting in Melbourne called on all Australians to END IT NOW. They voted to take action against violence to women and girls.
Numerous surveys conducted in Australia over the past 10 years reveal:
• 57% of Australian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual assault since the age of 15;
• 45% of women sexually assaulted since the age of 15 had experienced more than one incident;
• 19% of women aged 18-24 had experienced sexual violence in the past 12 months;
• only 15% of women who were assaulted in the past 12 months reported to police;
• 20.8% of all homicides in Australia involve intimate partners – 76 homicides within Australia each year (or 1 every 4.8 days).
Australia’s legal process for reporting sexual abuse is tough and intimidating. This is one reason why only 10% of Australian women press charges and why the professionals supporting them have criticised the legal system. The END IT NOW campaign, voted by delegates, was initiated by the Women's Ministries Department and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). It aims to mobilize Adventists and the wider Australian community to resolve this worldwide issue.
Delegates voted the following resolution:
Accepting the equality of all people in God’s sight, we choose to refrain from any form of abuse or violence within our families, the community, and the church. Further, we choose to speak out against any form of abuse or violence within the church, and take all steps possible to ensure our churches are a secure and safe place for women and children. We call on all members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Australian Union Conference, to take a stand to enditnow.
The End It Now campaign is also being embraced by more than 15 million Seventh-day Adventists around the world. Initially, one million signatures will be collected and presented to His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General on 13th October, 2010.
ENDITNOW builds on the Seventh-day Adventist Church's long tradition of responding to the needs of all human beings, namely to stand up in favour of human rights, tolerance, the well-being of children, freedom of expression and conscience, and the protection and integrity of families. It is a call to action for the whole community to stand up and put these principles into practice.