South American Adventists Unite Against Emotional Abuse
The last Sabbath in August will see bustling streets and packed auditoriums in eight South American countries. Breaking the Silence campaign actions take place on the 27th, providing prevention tips and ways to overcome emotional abuse.
Surveys carried out by various health and safety agencies show that psychological violence is the most recurrent type of abuse, preceding, in many cases, other forms of aggression. It is present in homes, universities and workplaces, in the form of insults, blackmail and threats. Because it is not a physical act, this type of aggression is still very veiled and underreported to security agencies. However, it is recognized as a crime in several countries, given its potential harm to the victim.
In Brazil, Law 14.188/2021 criminalizes psychological violence against women. According to Section 147-B, it is a crime to engage in any act which causes “emotional harm to a woman which harms her and disrupts her full development, or which is intended to degrade or control her actions, behaviors, beliefs and decisions. , by threat, embarrassment, humiliation, manipulation, isolation, blackmail, ridicule, limitation of the right to come and go, or any other means that damages his psychological health and his self-determination.
Based on this same concept, the Breaking the Silence campaign extends its actions to fight against psychological violence, not only against women but against all vulnerable people, such as children and the elderly.
Breaking the Silence is promoted annually by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and aims to help combat and prevent various types of addiction and abuse. This year, the theme of psychological violence has been chosen to guide the actions of the campaign, which take place on August 27 in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay and continue throughout the year.
Several activities are in preparation for the occasion. Rallies and marches will bring attention to the theme in the streets, while talks will take place in churches, schools and auditoriums. At these events, guidance material will also be distributed, such as brochures and magazines, printed in versions for children, adolescents and adults. These materials are produced in Portuguese and Spanish and available in digital format on the campaign’s official website, quebrandoosilencio.org. There are also other materials, such as videos, promotional illustrations and podcasts, as well as all the information about the project.
In addition, many Adventist churches organize solidarity actions such as health fairs with free care for the population, visits to nursing homes and orphanages, and donations of supplies to families in need. A partnership with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) will also offer basic entrepreneurship courses to women, as financial dependency is what keeps many in abusive relationships.
For Jeanete Lima, coordinator of the campaign in South America, addressing the issue will certainly open the eyes of many people to identify psychological violence and seek ways to overcome it. “That’s our role as a church, that’s the role of the Christian religion. The Bible directs us in Isaiah 1:17: ‘Learn to do good; Seek justice, rebuke the oppressor.’ Yes, we are our brothers’ keepers,” she stresses.
Created in 2002, Breaking the Silence completes 20 years of fulfilling its purpose. On the website, quebrandoosilencio.org, there are stories of people who have been touched by the initiative over these two decades. And speaking of this impact, several states and provinces in various countries have included a date in their official calendars to mark the campaign, in recognition of its relevance and social contribution.