Red chairs are being put in churches, businesses, train stations and schools to raise awareness that, globally, a woman or girl dies at the hands of an intimate partner or family member every 11 minutes
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an annual campaign that begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs through to International Human Rights Day on 10 December.
The Red Chair Project began in French churches, but now through the Christian Network to End Domestic Abuse, is being replicated throughout the world by Christian organisations who want to galvanise the church to speak up and do something about violence against women and girls.
The Red Chair Project involves reserving an empty chair in a public place with a sign in red highlighting facts about domestic violence. The empty chair also serves as a visual symbol of the lives lost to gender-based violence. The colour red reminds us all of the violence faced by millions of women in war zones, on city streets, and also in their own homes. The sign is available in French, English, Spanish, Hindi, Romanian, Hungarian, and more.
Supporting this is Restored, a Christian charity working to speak up about violence against women, equip the Church to stand against domestic abuse and support survivors.
The colour red reminds us all of the violence faced by millions of women in war zones, on city streets, and also in their own homes.
Bekah Legg, CEO of Christian charity Restored says;
“At Restored, we speak up about violence against women 365 days a year, but this is a great opportunity for everyone to do something simple. Violence against women is such a pervasive problem, that most people don’t know where to start, but this project makes it easy to make a difference and start to change a culture which normalises violence against women.”
Restored is inviting Christians everywhere to share pictures of Red Chairs around the country on their social media over the 16 Days of Activism.
Want to get involved? All you need is a chair and a sign.
You could designate a chair in your church, at a local cafe, or even a public space like a park bench (although remember to ask permission first if needed!).
Using red fabric to cover the chair is really powerful, but if you can’t get hold of any, printing a sign and making sure the chair is left empty will still have impact. You can download signs at www.restored-uk.org/redchair.
Share pictures of your red chair by sharing them on social media using the hashtag #notodomesticviolence and tag Restored UK.
The Restored Survivors’ Network is an online community for Christian women who have been subjected to domestic abuse. Women are able to join as anonymously as they feel comfortable and are able to access online information, peer support groups, recovery courses and signposting. www.restored-uk.org/survivor
The Restored Beacon Programme partners with churches to create safe spaces in their communities for those who have been abused and a support team to walk with survivors on their road to recovery. www.restored-uk.org/beacon
Restored has resources available for survivors and church leaders at www.restored-uk.org/shop