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Jamaican Adventists march in support of Enditnow

Global campaign against domestic abuse gaining signatures for UN petition

Jamaican Adventists march in support of Enditnow

A young Jamaican holds a sign against violence at a recent Enditnow march attended by hundreds of Adventists from across the Caribbean nation. Statistics indicate that 1 million such children enter the sex trade worldwide each year. [photos: Nigel Coke]

Hundreds of Jamaican Seventh-day Adventists marched last week against violence toward women and children in Ocho Rios.

They came out in support of Enditnow, a global campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and advocate on behalf of woman and girls vulnerable to violence worldwide.

Human rights organizations estimate that one out of every three women globally will be beaten, raped or otherwise abused during her lifetime. The United Nations Children's Fund estimates that 1 million children, mostly girls, enter the sex trade each year.

"I am happy that we are here today and we are joining hands with all the other groups -- the government and other faith-based members -- and we are saying we are tired of it," said Lorraine Vernal, Women's and Children's Ministries director for the Adventist Church in Jamaica.

The Caribbean nation's government has pledged to organize events from November 25 to December 10 to help end violence against women and girls.

"You may say, 'What can I do?' You came out today, you are standing, you are listening, you may be watching via the Internet. When you hear violence perpetrating next door ... say something. You can do it anonymously," Vernal told supporters October 29.

The Adventist Church has released several statements affirming the dignity and worth of every human being and denouncing all forms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Most recently, directors from numerous departments at Adventist world church headquarters published a joint commentary in support of the church's 10th Annual Abuse Prevention Emphasis Day.

Adventist world church Women's Ministries Director Heather-Dawn Small represented Adventists worldwide at the event in Jamaica.

"We cannot consider ourselves to be children of God and stand by quietly. We have done that for too long; and while we do that, women and children are dying. By our silence we only help the problem to grow," Small told supporters.

The Adventist world church is collecting 1 million signatures to send to the United Nations in a public stand against abuse. So far, some 600,000 Adventists have signed the petition. Jamaicans added hundreds of new signatures during the event.

Enditnow is a joint initiative of the world church's Women's Ministries department and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency. For more information, visit