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OK-Henry designates Sunday as day of prayer for ending violence against women

02/22/2006 by Dayna Schram

(LIN) Oklahoma sermons will pause this Sunday to say a special prayer for women who are victims of violence. Gov. Brad Henry issued a proclamation that stated this Sunday will be the second annual day of prayer for ending the violence against women.

Oklahoma's religious leaders and people of all faiths gathered in the Governor's Blue Room Wednesday to have a day of prayer for an end to violence against women.

"It is the number one rights violation in the world today," said Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City, who hosted the event. "In the eyes of so many people, women are second-rate citizens."

In Oklahoma, as well as the other 49 states, the No. 1 cause of death for women under age 30 is murder. "There are five to six women raped every minute and the number one cause of death of pregnant women is also murder," explained Hamilton.

The group met to discuss how rape and violence against women should be preached to sermons in Oklahoma as a sin. Guest speaker Archbishop Beltran stated, "It is a sin not to label violence as a sin." Beltran, along with many other religious leaders, had a petition signed that is in favor of legislation against violence against women both inside and outside of marriage including murder, rape, sexual harassment and verbal harassment. The signed agree this should be seen as a sin and erased from society. Bletran presented Hamilton with folders that contained over 15,000 signatures from services all over Oklahoma.

Along with this presentation Hamilton emotionally read a list from OSBI that had the names of all the Oklahoma women who were killed this year by domestic violence. After the list was read two women, the Rev. Servrina Prim a survivor of rape, and Deb Stanalan a survivor of domestic abuse, told their stories of survival. "Fifty-two women a year in the state of Oklahoma die from those who promised to love them," said Stanalan. "75 percent of that domestic violence happens when the relationship is ending or after the females leave."

Hamilton was the only representative that attended the meeting Wednesday afternoon because it was not a meeting discussing legislation; it was a meeting that promoted awareness about the abuse against women. Hamilton ended by stating, "Silence is consent."

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