2017 Annual Appeal
Well, it’s been a year. For the past several months, we’ve seen revelations of men in power being known to harass and assault people who were in thrall to that power. So many emotions have arisen in the midst of these allegations, and unfortunately surprise is not one of them.
As Laurie Penny writes in her article, The Unforgiving Minute:
“[it never was about individual monsters] This is about structural violence, about a culture that decided long ago that women’s agency and dignity were worth sacrificing to protect the reputation of powerful men and the institutions that enabled their entitlement.”
The dismaying statistics (from a new ABC News Washington Post Poll):
- Over half of all American women – 54% – have experienced “unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances” at some point in their lives;
- All told, 33 million American women have been sexually harassed;
- 14 million have been sexually abused in work-related episodes;
- 95% report that male perpetrators of such abuse go unpunished.
It has been some time since we, as Unitarian Universalists, have looked at the issue of violence against women. As women, it is perhaps always on our minds, yet the tide has gone low institutionally since the energy surrounding the 1993 UUA General Assembly resolution on violence against women, after the recommendations of the clergy sexual misconduct task force, funded by the UUWF.
A look at the resolution reminds us that not much has changed in the 24 years since then. The goal of the resolution is as necessary now as it ever was. Now and once again, people have begun to speak out en masse about their abuses and harassment. Now is the time to push our society further and faster toward the end of the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. As Unitarian Universalists, we must continue to break the cycles of oppression within and beyond our denomination.
Will you join us as models of what to do to hold people accountable, to bring justice? We remain grateful for your support throughout the years. Together, through your contributions, the UUWF was able to and will continue to look into clergy sexual misconduct and abuse of safe spaces by predators. With your future contributions, we will continue to:
- Lift up and Support the voices of UU women-identified religious professionals through the work of the New Prophetic Sisterhood;
- Fund and Create spaces for women of faith to share their voices, like at our annual sermon award each year at the UUA General Assembly;
- Seek out and Support projects from UU women and groups which help ameliorate the pervasive injustices against women and girls;
- Educate on and Advocate for issues that directly impact women and their families, like reproductive rights, in collaboration with our partners.
I hope you will continue to support the UUWF in our ongoing work. This year, as part of our celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Women and Religion Resolution, your generous contribution of $40 or more will be gifted a UUWF tote bag as a small token of our gratitude.
It’s been a year, but this is just the beginning.
Annual Appeal letter (PDF)