Who will care about violence against women?

The Why Care? Why Act? conference has been postponed for now. We will publicise the new date when it is available. However you can read more about the ongoing work on gender and violence in this reflection from Katherine Gilmour, the Church of Scotland’s gender justice officer and secretary to Integrity, the Kirk's Violence against Women Task Group.

Hand suggesting violence in home

I came that they may have life and live it abundantly
John 10:10 NRSV

Did you know that globally, at least 1 in 3 women will experience some form of violence against women during their lives?

Violence against women, girls and children is a term used to describe violent or abusive actions that cause harm or suffering to women and children. It is an umbrella term, which means it covers lots of different forms of behaviour but what they all have in common is that these actions are rooted in gender injustice and overwhelmingly affect women and children.

  • Violence against women includes:
  • Domestic abuse, rape, incest and child sexual abuse
  • Sexual harassment and intimidation at work and in public
  • Commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution, pornography and trafficking
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Forced and child marriages
  • So-called ‘honour’ crimes

In Scotland, as is the case across the world, these types of acts are carried out predominantly by adult men. This does not mean that men do not experience some of the types of violence and abuse included on this list, but it does mean that overall they are less likely to. The vast majority of gender based violence is inflicted on women and girls, largely because they are women and girls.

Violence against women is a global, widespread human rights violation and is experienced by women and children in every country worldwide. It cuts across both the public and the private sphere and is present within all walks of life. This means violence against women, girls and children affects those in Scotland and is present within our Christian communities.

So, it’s a problem. But why care? And why act?

Violence against women harms us all. Communities where such abuse is condoned, excused or ignored are not communities which allow us all to flourish and to live life in the abundance that is meant for us.

Faith communities can be a source of comfort and strength to those affected by violence and abuse but are we doing enough? What does a Christian response to violence against women, girls and children look like? Are we sometimes part of the problem? How do we live a theology that counters violence against women?

If you would like to speak to someone about your own experiences or you are concerned about someone you know, please contact:

Rape Crisis Scotland – Phone 08088 01 03 02or visit the website

Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline – Phone 0800 027 1234or visit the website

In an emergency, contact the police on 999.

Integrity supports the national Church to tackle violence against women, girls and children and to develop resources and tools for local churches, congregations and communities. Find more information about violence against women and resources for churches here or email integrity@churchofscotland.org.uk.