It's On Us

 

February 9, 2015

Becky Wasserman

 

On Sunday night, President Obama delivered a Grammys PSA with a message loud and clear: it’s time to end violence against women. It’s on us to take a stand, step in, and offer support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

 

While the Grammys are a night to celebrate artists and songs of the year, they are also an opportunity to reflect on the impact music has on our culture. In his statement to the nation, the President declared, “artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes and get us thinking and talking about what matters.” Survivor Brooke Axtell then took the stage and shared her story of abuse before Katy Perry’s performance. As more artists have the courage to reject the misogyny and degradation that have become so normalized by the music industry, more survivors will reach out and find safety.

 

Like the music industry, professional athletics also shape our culture as Americans. Last week, during the single most watched broadcast in our country’s history, the Super Bowl aired a domestic violence PSA. Followed by commercials about caring men and strong girls, over 100 million viewers heard fresh messages about respect, safety, and challenging gender norms.

 

Powerful institutions that shape our culture and identity as Americans are speaking out. It’s time for religious institutions to do the same. Faith leaders, like musicians or athletes, have a unique power to shape our values as a society. We want faith leaders to educate themselves about domestic and sexual violence, preach from the pulpit, and send a clear message against violence to their congregants. When they do so, it’s on us to stand with these courageous leaders.

 

Our society will only eliminate violence against women once all the institutions that shape our cultural identity boldly show their support for survivors. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and it’s a perfect opportunity to start a conversation about healthy and respectful relationships with young people in your community. Wear orange throughout the month to show your support. Tweet with the hashtag #FaithRespectsOrange to show faith communities stand with survivors.  Post a Hotline number in your congregation’s bulletin. Become a volunteer through our Safe with Faith volunteer program. There are so many ways for you to speak out and take action! Visit www.interfaithpartners.org/actnow for more ideas.

 

Remember, it’s on us.  Let’s get to work.

 

 

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