16 Days ... - All-Ireland Mothers' Union

Go to content

16 Days ...

Mothers' Union produced a Video "No More 1 in 3"
Click on the image above to view this video

Remember Midday Prayers are available on the Mothers' Union Facebook page

If you are not on Facebook many of the videos are available on the Mothers' Union YouTube Channel


An excellent presentation was given by Jacqui Armstrong and June Butler on the Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence at the All-Ireland Synod.
To view this presentation please click on the image below.

Click on the image above to read a leaflet about

We, in Mothers' Union, support the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. In recognition that domestic violence is an issue that many live with all the year round, our focus now concentrates on listening, believing, educating,  supporting, highlighting, and tackling gender based violence every day of the year. Our aim through 16 Days 365 is to change the story of domestic abuse and gender based violence in Ireland.
We are very aware that violence against women, children and men has increased greatly in recent years.  Refuges throughout the country struggle to cope with the demand for their services. Many refuges greatly appreciate the support they receive from Mothers' Union in the form of food vouchers, fuel vouchers, gifts of toiletries, toys, clothes and food items.
Help is at hand from specialist domestic abuse services:
Emergency Numbers RoI
You can also ring your local Garda Station, or If it is an emergency, call 999. In non-emergencies dial 112.
Out of Hours Support – Republic of  Ireland
24hr National Freephone Helpline
1800 341 900

Domestic abuse services in the Republic of Ireland can be accessed through this Safe Ireland link:
Where to find help - Safe Ireland

The Women’s Aid website also offers help and support for those in need:
I need help now | Women's Aid - Domestic violence service in Ireland (womensaid.ie)
Men’s Aid, Ireland  - Confidential Support Line: 01-5543811
About Men's Aid - Men's Aid (mensaid.ie)

The Gardaí treat reports of domestic and sexual abuse very seriously and a great deal of information is available on their website:
Domestic abuse - Garda

Likewise the following information relating to Northern Ireland:

Emergency Numbers NI
In an emergency contact the PSNI on 999. In non-emergencies dial 101

Out of Hours Support – Northern Ireland
Freephone 24hr Domestic & Sexual Abuse Helpline
0808 802 1414

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need support or information, contact your local Women’s Aid NI group Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland (womensaidni.org)

MAPNI – Men’s Advisory Project  Contact:
BELFAST: (028) 9024 1929; FOYLE: (028) 7116 0001
MapNI – Men's Advisory Project

The PSNI have an excellent section relating to domestic abuse on their website:
Domestic Abuse | PSNI

General Synod 2023

“Mothers' Union are the backbone and the heartbeat of our parishes across this island, but also the stone in the shoe” ...

Mothers' Union presented their new Gender Based Violence resource at the General Synod in Clayton White's Hotel, Wexford on Friday 12th May.

A huge crowd attended the presentation which took place at lunch time on the first day of General Synod.
Click on the image above to read more about this campaign

Click on the image above to download a bookmark

Click on the image above to download a report on
Domestic Abuse Progress in Ireland in 2022
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence is an international campaign. It takes place each year from 25th November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December (International Human Rights Day).

Throughout the campaign, we join with others globally to raise  awareness of, and call for an end to, gender-based violence in all forms  and in all societies.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence Campaign is an  extension of the day-to-day grassroots work of Mothers’ Union, where we work alongside communities to help end gender-based violence and to  support those affected by it.

Click on the image above to access resources
for Global Day 2022

     Global Day 2022   
Saturday 26th November
Our  Global Day is Mothers' Union's response to the call for 16 Days of   Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Global Day is centred around  the disturbing figure that “1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced   domestic or sexual abuse” and that Mothers’ Union as a leading women’s organisation believe this to be unacceptable.
What are we doing on this Global Day?
This year we are coming together on Saturday 26th November, marking it by wearing a purple scarf (scarf available from our online shop).
We  will gather, where possible, for a three-minute silence at  1.03pm  (linking to the 1 in 3 theme). We want to make this as big as we can,  combining the voices of our four million members around the world –   calling for action on an international scale and in the countries where   we live.

Thursdays in Black

Thursdays in Black grew out of the World Council of Churches’ Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women (1988–1998), in which the stories of rape as a weapon of war, gender injustice, abuse, violence, and many tragedies that grow outward from such violence became all the more visible. To read more about Thursdays in Black and access resources click on the image above.

In every country, gender- based  violence is a tragic reality:

  • One in three women today experience physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner.
  • Globally, more than eight out of ten girls experience street harassment before they are 17.
  • Women and girls represent 70 percent of human trafficking victims.
  • One in four children under the age of five lives in a household experiencing domestic violence.
  • An estimated 246 million girls and boys experience school-related violence each year.
Statistics from UN Women and UNICEF

Click on the image below to read an interview with June Butler about Thursdays in Black

"1 in 3 women worldwide have
experienced domestic or sexual

This is unacceptable

On 26th Novemberr 2022 our annual "Global Day of Action" will take place.
This is the day when members in 84 countries around the world step out
of their comfort zones to support survivors.

We are calling on our membership to give a voice to the voiceless and
stand together in an act of protest - highlighting that this statistic must

Click on the image above to download a Resource pack

Click on the link above to view the video
(Please note some people might find the contents upsetting)
Quotes to use for a
"Souls of our Shoes Exhibition"

Click on the image below to download a document with quote that may be used for an exhibition.

The All-Ireland 16 Days Prayer Diary

The All-Ireland Mothers’ Union 16 Days Prayer Diary is a captivating and compelling set of reflections, exploring gender-based violence.

Combatting gender-based violence is at the heart of Mothers’ Union concern through advocacy, prayer and practical matters.  Each year we take part  in the international campaign of the  16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. It begins on the 25th November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on the 10th December, International Human Rights Day.

The 16 Days Prayer Diary, is a timely resource, given that pandemic times and now the Cost of Living Crisis, continue to provide testimony to a disturbing  “shadow pandemic”. In Ireland alone Women’s Aid has seen a 43% increase in calls to their helplines since March 2020.

If  you would like to undertake this journey of reflection, prayer and action copies may be ordered from Mothers’ Union at  allireland.mothersunion@gmail.ie.  Postage costs will apply.

The articles and reflections contained in the  16 Days Prayer Diary set gender-based violence in the context of our faith, raise awareness of the problem and helps us recognise that this is not somebody else’s problem but it  is ‘our’ together problem.

This beautifully produced, informative, and thought-provoking diary draws its readers into reflection and prayer accompanied by simple points of action

In addition to highlighting the issues involved, it reveals the positive work taking place across the Church of Ireland in engaging with domestic abuse and gender-based violence.

Contributors include GFS, Protestant Aid, the Church and Society Commission, the Church of Ireland Marriage Council, CIYD and Bishop’s Appeal who highlight Mothers’ Union, Tearfund and Christian Aid supported projects. The various editions have been funded by the Church of Ireland Priorities Fund, TBF & KL Thompson, Mothers’ Union, Bishops’ Appeal and the Church of Ireland Council for Mission.
The Diary may also be downloaded from the website. Just click on the image of the diary cover.
The All-Ireland Prayer Diary 2022

Click on the image above to download a copy of the
Prayer Diary for 2022

Click on the image above to read a report
from Jacqui Armstrong

2021 16 DAYS 365 Days of Activism All-Ireland Roundup
A Prayer

Loving Lord,
your care and love are ever present in our lives.
We pray for our brothers and sisters throughout the world
who live in situations of abuse and violence.

Give them hope in their hopelessness;
help them find strength in their weakness;
grant them freedom from their oppression;
transform their brokenness into wholeness;
and heal their wounds, visible and invisible.

Grant us all the courage and wisdom, grace and humility,
to act at all times with compassion and care.
And grant all who are harmed by abuse or coercion, peace through justice.
This we ask in Jesus name. Amen.
A Reflection written by Jacqui Armstrong  
Two  days before our very first Vigil in November 2105 I received a phone  call from BBC Radio Foyle. An elderly lady had read notices in windows  regarding the 16 Days Prayer Vigil.  She had rung Radio Foyle to urge them to advertise the event and encourage people to come along.  

The  lady herself had a remarkable story to tell and a reporter had been  dispatched to her home to tape her story.  Could I possibly come to the  studio for 8am as they would like me to sit in on her recorded interview  before speaking about the 16 Days Prayer Vigil in the lead up to the 8.30am news bulletin.  Prime radio time – a nerve wracking opportunity not to be missed!

I  sat aghast and fought back the tears as Bridie’s horrific story  unfolded – she had sat at her daughter’s bedside for three full days,  and watched her life ebb away.  Her son-in-law had been arrested on  suspicion of murder. The attack had been gruesome and the injuries  horrendous. Months later, after the trial, shards of her skull were  returned to the family for burial.  

As  her story finished the presenter invited me to respond to the story. To  this day the rest of that interview is a blur, but I do know that, in  the intervening years, when I have been tempted to take short cuts or  become despondent  in our quest to tackle the scourge of domestic  violence and gender-based violence, Bridie’s words echo, tears well up  and I have the renewed resolve and determination to carry on. It is a  journey that no victim, no family should ever have to undertake.

Actions  speak louder than words, and whilst each action we take may appear a  drop in the ocean, the ocean gradually fills. As Christians there is no  room for complacency. It is God’s desire for each one of us to flourish  in His world, to spread His word and act in love.

Both  women and men, can be victims of domestic abuse.  Yet, statistics  confirm that there is a disproportionate level of abuse against women  with 1 in 3 women and girls worldwide expected to experience abuse in  their lifetime. The most violent domestic abuse is against women.  

God created human beings in his own image. Genesis 1:27

We  are equal in his sight, and as a body of people with Christian values  we can undertake to reverse the trends in domestic abuse. Together we  can reflect, converse and act, in tackling the societal and cultural  norms in our society, having conversations about mutual respect,  cultural attitudes, revisiting and helping to rebuild lives through  understanding and practical support.

We  started our journey seven years ago responding in prayer and  reflection.  Each year our actions have increased, and we have  established meaningful links within each diocese. We have a lot to be  thankful for, and we hope and pray that our journey through the 16 Days  with the 16 Days Prayer Diary at our side, will equip us with God’s good grace, inform us and empower us with each step to act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).

In 2020 there has been a huge increase in the incidence of reported domestic abuse across the island.

May the God of hope equip us with all we need to pursue justice through the power of Jesus Christ.
All glory to him forever and ever! Amen

I Received Flowers
Today I received flowers!
It’s not my birthday or any other special day;
we had our first fight last night,
he said some cruel things to me that really offended me.
But I know he’s sorry and didn’t mean what he said,
because today he sent me flowers.
It’s not our anniversary or any other special day.
Yesterday he threw me against the wall and started suffocating me.
It was like a nightmare, but we wake up from
nightmares and discover that they are not real.
Today I woke up full of pain and with bruises all over my body.
But I know he’s sorry
because today he sent me flowers.
And it’s not Valentine’s Day or any other special day.
Last night he hit me and threatened to kill me.
Neither the make-up nor the long sleeves could hide
the cuts and bruises that I suffered this time.
I couldn’t go to work today,
because I didn’t want anyone to notice.
But I know he’s sorry
because today he sent me flowers.
And it wasn’t Mother’s Day or any other special day.

Last night he hit me again, but this time it was much worse.
If I manage to leave him, what would I do?
How could I bring up my children on my own?
What will happen if the money runs out?
I’m so frightened of him!
But I depend on him so much that I am afraid to leave him.
But I know he’s sorry,
because today he sent me flowers.

Today is a very special day: it is the day of my funeral.
 Yesterday he finally managed to kill me.
He hit me until I died.
If only I had had the courage and the strength to leave him…
 If only I had asked for professional help…
I wouldn’t be receiving flowers today!
(Translation of ‘Hoje Recebi Flores’, author unknown, Brazil, Christian Aid: Loving One Another, p17)

A reflection by Lesley Bayley

The article written in 2020 by one of our trustees, Lesley Bayley, Diocesan President of Cashel, Ferns, Ossory tells the very poignant story of how she was a victim of domestic abuse. Lesley's story also shows us that with the help and support of family and friends victims can escape such violent situations and go on to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

The last few months have been difficult for us all, but at last we are moving slowly towards the ‘new normal’ as lockdown restrictions are eased and people are able to get out and about more freely. For many the internet has played a major role during these weeks, including the Mothers’ Union, whose vital work has been able to continue throughout.

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Zoom meeting with staff members from Mary Sumner House and fellow DP’s from Britain and Ireland. During the meeting there was a great deal of discussion about how Mothers’ Union should move forward post-lockdown, and how we can best help those in our communities and the wider world, focusing on three main issues: healing and rebuilding family relationships through the re-imagining of AFIA; responding to the immediate needs of children and families; and addressing domestic violence.

The last few months have been difficult for us all, but none more so than those living in a situation of domestic violence, from which there has been little or no escape.

As some members within my own diocese know I am survivor of domestic violence in a previous relationship, now thankfully living a good life with a man who loves me and cares for me.

I pray for every woman, man and child in our communities living in situations of domestic violence, that they may survive this already distressing time and that we as members of the Mothers’ Union may help them and uphold them in the coming weeks and months in whatever way we can.

The first time I was confronted with violence was on my honeymoon, when he threatened to kill me with a bread knife. This was a side I had never before seen during the four years I had known him and I was shocked into silence. After that my everyday life involved continuous verbal and physical abuse, food I had cooked thrown at the wall or in the bin, having household items thrown at me, being shouted at in public and generally being made to feel worthless. I accepted this was my life and could see no way out for eleven years.

It was while on holiday overseas that I made the decision to get out. An argument had started over nothing, after which I was completely ignored for two days. While it may have been a reprieve from the abuse it was abuse of another kind, and I felt even lonelier and more isolated than usual. I was in a strange country, I knew no-one there other than him, and now I was confined to a small room with someone whose mood was absolutely unfathomable.

Based on that experience I can only imagine how anyone living in a violent relationship over the last number of months must be feeling every day. Not knowing the mood to expect, the reaction it will bring, together with an even greater feeling of loneliness and isolation than normal.

I will finish with a prayer taken from the ‘Dear Lord’ book, written by Dr. Richard Appleton, a Central member of Mothers’ Union. It is from his prayer ‘A prayer for each day of the week’ – ‘Tuesday is for threat’ – although when living with domestic violence every day is a threat.

Tuesday is a threat: we live in a world that is full of threats – threats to our physical, emotional and spiritual lives; threats that can easily separate us from God. Lord, we pray for Christians in all places that the Holy Spirit will provide faith, strength, courage and peace in their daily lives. Amen.
Back to content