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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Women in distress: An apology

"I don't have a latrine. Sometimes I go to the bush.
 It's quite far and there have been a lot of people going.
 Sometimes I feel ashamed and go back without defecating.
 Sometimes I wait until dark so no one can see me.
 To reach the bush, first there is a bridge.
 Sometimes people fall off the bridge and then they die.
 At night it is very dangerous. A woman I know has been raped."

Monday, 19 November 2012 was World Toilet Day. Like many others I was too concerned about Mother Church and what the future might hold for around one third of Anglicans in the Church of England who feel that they are being squeezed out so the email I received from Water Aid sank further down my in-try. It made this plea: "1 in 3 women worldwide risk shame, disease, harassment and even attack because they have nowhere safe to go to the toilet. That's 1.25 billion women – daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers. In April, the UK Government pledged to double the number of people they would reach with water and sanitation to 60 million by 2015. Now is the time to turn that promise into action and every voice adds pressure, so please add yours today."

As the Church of England Synod counted up votes on the women bishops measure, both sides praying that the Holy Spirit would shine upon them, one third of the women in the world were praying for rudimentary sanitation. It is hard not to feel ashamed that an unnecessary controversy deflected attention form the genuine need and suffering of one third of all women. They cannot be dismissed as a small minority. If you have not already done so, please sign-up to Water Aid and help the 1.25 billion women who are in desperate need of our vote.

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