Today we mark White Ribbon Sunday. This is the Sunday where we have the opportunity to place a white ribbon on the lawn in front of the church to remember that there are sadly many women and children experiencing varying degrees of violence in the home. This may be a special moment for you as you may have first-hand experience of this sad reality or know someone who has experienced violence in the home. It is an inescapable and sad reality that in a country as socially aware and advanced as ours, that this remains a huge problem. I do not overstate the fact that it is a huge problem, as despite the fact that 80% of the family violence that transpires in NZ is never reported, we still are one of the countries with the highest incidences of sexual and family violence in the home. The NZ police report that they respond to a family violence incident every 6 minutes. That computes to 118 910 callouts. On average 13 women, 10 men, 9 children are killed each year by means of family violence. Of those, disabled women are twice as likely to experience abuse than other women.
This must stop. This can’t go on. As Christians this tragic situation should deeply sadden us as the home and bedroom is meant to be a place of harmony, safety, security and love. Let us pray for all we may know who are affected with this departure from what God intended the home to be. Let us also pray for the police and ambulance staff who are often the first called on to try to mediate in family violence. Let us not let go of the hope that Christ changes lives and homes. Our country needs to find new life and love in the timeless gospel and grace of Jesus Christ.