Violence Against Women

By Jennifer Tazzi-Giovannetti, Esq

As Ladies of Charity USA, we know that women both in our country and throughout the world suffer from violence and exploitation. What should be our response to such suffering?

Violence against women is an issue that affects both men and women and is one that has local and global perspectives. It encompasses a wide range of abuses including: feticide, infanticide, domestic violence, hate crimes, honor killings and trafficking of women and girls domestically and internationally. It is an epidemic that affects women in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Those in poverty are generally the ones most severely affected.

Internationally, it is estimated that one-third of women are victimized by violence at some point in their lives. Nationally, it is thought that a quarter of women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

Violence against women is a systemic pattern of dominance and control. It can result in physical injury, psychological trauma and even death. The consequences of this violence can cross generations and last throughout the lifetimes of both perpetrators and victims.

The “Clothesline Project” at St. John’s University was just one recent example of how a Ladies of Charity can respond to the issue of violence against women.

The Clothesline Project is a national, grassroots project “bearing witness to violence against women.” A clothesline is hung with T-shirts decorated to honor a particular woman’s experience and to have it acknowledged in a public space. Events were held on campus from April 13th to the 16th to raise awareness of violence against women and girls and to reinforce a message of healing and the need for social justice.

While in recent years the Bishops of the United States have promoted many ways we can prevent the abuse of children, their statement of 1992, reissued in 2002 “When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence” is a good starting point to consider how an Association can begin to address the comparable concern of gender based violence. In addition to explaining the pastoral approach, this resource also provides practical suggestions for action and resources for further information on the web, in film and in print. []

The Ladies of Charity USA hopes to become a voice to alleviate gender based violence in our homes, communities and the world. What can you do to help?

For more information or to get help go to www. and click on Advocacy.



Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence:

National Domestic Violence Hotline:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

Family Violence Prevention Fund:

The Clothesline Project


When You Preach, Remember Me, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, No. 680-8; phone ordering: 800-235-8722

Broken Vows: Religious Perspectives on Domestic Violence, Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence; phone: 206-634-1903; fax: 206-634-0115; e-mail:

Wings Like a Dove: Healing for the Abused Christian Woman, Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence


Walk in the Light: A Pastoral Response to Child Sexual Abuse, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, No. 5-000; phone ordering: 800-235-8722.; phone ordering: 800-235-8722.

On the Dignity and Vocation of Women (Mulieris Dignitatem), Pope John Paul II. Available on the Vatican’s website at

The Gospel of Life, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, No. 244-6; phone ordering: 800-235-8722.

Pope John Paul II on the Genius of Women, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, No. 5-113.; phone ordering: 800-235-8722.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, No. 511-9.; phone ordering: 800-235-8722.
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Domestic Violence Committee of the Commission on Women

When You Are Called For Help: A Guide for Clergy on Responding to Domestic Violence Situations. Available from the Commission on Women, 328 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102; phone:. 651-291-4495.

Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, CSB, Diocese of Las Cruces

Speaking the Unspeakable: A Pastoral Letter on Domestic Violence., Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, CSB. Available from the diocesesan Pastoral Center, 1280 Med Park Drive, Las Cruces, NM 88005; phone:. 505-523-7577;.

Keeping the Faith: Guidance for Christian Women Facing Abuse (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1995).

 Rev. Marie M. Fortune & Rev. Al Miles

Domestic Violence: What Every Pastor Needs to Know (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 2000).

Woman-Battering (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1994). Carol J. Adams

When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women was developed by the Committee on Women in Society and in the Church and the Committee on Marriage and Family of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), approved for publication by the Administrative Committee in September 1992, and affirmed by the full body of U.S. Catholic bishops at its November 1992 General Meeting. This revised tenth anniversary edition was approved by the full body of U.S. Catholic bishops at its November 2002 General Meeting and has been authorized for publication by the undersigned.
Msgr. William P. Fay
General Secretary, USCCB

Phone Numbers




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