As Christians, we must work to change customs and practices that oppress and enslave others and work to protect against everything that destroys human dignity (Living Faith, 8.4.2–3). We affirm that we are made in the image of God and that God’s love is never seen in hatred and dehumanizing.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
December 6

December 6 marks the day that 14 women were murdered at Polytechnique Montréal in 1989. December 6 is now National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

The mass murder of women at Polytechnique was fed by misogyny. Misogyny—the hatred and systematic devaluing of women and girls—normalizes violence against women and girls and encourages treating women and girls as less than human. This is counter to the gospel message that all are beloved of God. Any violence against women and girls, as well as the many ways that violence is ignored, downplayed or explained away, are symptoms of sinful systems of harm. This harm may take the shape of physical violence, sexual violence, emotional abuse (belittling, harassing, intimidation), and any other ways that women and girls can be targeted for their gender—including being killed.

The statistics are deeply troubling. In Canada, one in three women have felt unsafe in public due to experiencing some form of unwanted sexual behaviour. One in five women have experienced online harassment. Indigenous women face dramatically higher levels of violence: 54% of Indigenous women vs. 37% of non-Indigenous women. Statistics on violence against Black women and girls in Canada are hard to find and are often not kept, but American reports show that Black women and girls are 35% more likely to face gender-based violence. In 79% of reported cases of intimate partner violence, the victims are women. Forty-four percent of Black Trans women reported experiencing intimate partner violence.

As Christians we must work to change customs and practices that oppress and enslave others and work to protect against everything that destroys human dignity (Living Faith, 8.4.2–3). We affirm that we are made in the image of God and that God’s love is never seen in hatred and dehumanizing.

A Reflection on Mary’s Song

Mary sings of the strength of God’s arm in scattering the thoughts of the proud,

Bringing down the powerful and lifting the lowly.

Scripture will name her “blessed,” and that’s one word for it…

Her betrothed wasn’t the father and she could have feared being struck, scorned, shamed and stoned for being pregnant and unwed.

She has heard the stories from other women.

Seen the bruises they tried to hide from others while collecting the water and doing the wash.

Mary knew that God loved her.    

And that all people, all God’s children, carry the image of God within us.

—Prose by the Rev. Deb Stanbury, Executive Director of ARISE Ministry in Toronto, Ont.