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Gender-Based Violence

"Gender-based violence is an ancient sin that for thousands of years has harmed countless women, children and men. It is a sin that Christians need to recognize, understand and confront, for our religious history also bears its stain." - ELCA's "Social Message on Gender-Based Violence."

Gender-based violence is physical, sexual, or emotional harm directed at a person based on gender, sex, or sexuality. According to the United Nations Population Fund, an estimated 1 out of every 3 women will experience physical or sexual gender-based violence in her lifetime.

Domestic and intimate-partner violence are forms of gender-based violence. These are patterns of violent behaviors people use to control an intimate partner that crosses all economic, social and cultural boundaries. These forms of violence may be physical but may also be emotional, verbal, or financial intimidation and control. See our congregational resources for more materials on intimate-partner and domestic violence—which includes abuse of elders and children.

Take action:

  • Study the ELCA's "Social Message on Gender-Based Violence" and explore what steps and actions you and others can take in your community to prevent violence and bring healing to survivors and perpetrators of gender-based violence. A study guide for this social message is available – click here for the participant guide and here for the leader guide.

  • Engage with the "Gender-based Violence: What Steps Should the Church Take?" guide for use in congregations to discuss the issue of gender-based violence using the deliberative dialogue model. Click here for the participant guide and here for the moderator guide.

  • Call or write to your congressional leaders, urging them to take a strong stand against gender-based violence and advocate for protection for survivors. To find your elected officials, visit the ELCA Advocacy page.

  • Support local ELCA-affiliated social ministry organizations that minister to survivors of violence.

  • Learn from partners in this work, including FaithTrust Institute and InFaith Community Foundation.

  • Learn about human trafficking, a pervasive form of gender-based violence. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, wherein people are in bondage through fraud, force or coercion. Learn more about human trafficking in our resources. Report suspicious activity related to human trafficking at 1-888-373-7888.

  • Join with other religious and secular partners to raise awareness about and eradicate gender-based violence in your community. Learn more about gender-based violence in our resources.