The perpetrators of gender abuse were among those prayed for at a weekend vigil in St Columb’s Cathedral organised by members of the Mothers’ Union in Derry and Raphoe.
Saturday’s two-hour event was part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign and was one of around a dozen such gatherings in Church of Ireland churches throughout Ireland to demand an end to violence against women and girls.
Five female clergy from Derry and Raphoe were among those who led the vigil and those present were asked to pray for victims of gender violence at home and abroad; for those in positions of authority who were working to end it; and for the perpetrators who were responsible for doing it.
Prayers were said for Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister Claire Sugden, who is campaigning for gender justice and for members of the PSNI and the Garda Siochana who are fighting against people trafficking.
Canon George Irwin of Christian Aid talked about the work his organisation was doing with partners in Egypt, South Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kenya to try and end gender violence. Canon Irwin described gender violence as a global pandemic and said gender inequality was the norm for many. Tim Houston of Christian Action Research & Education (CARE) talked about the extent of gender abuse in Northern Ireland and the Republic and prayed for the success of legislation to prevent people trafficking.
The vigil was also addressed by members of the Donegal Domestic Violence Service and by Councillor Angela Dobbins, and a presentation of goods was made to representatives of Letterkenny Women’s Refuge and Foyle Women’s Aid.