In a nutshell
We will speak out South Africa (WWSOSA), is a coalition of faith communities and strategic partners committed to working together to prevent and end the impact of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) across South Africa. This coalition is the South African chapter of a global coalition that was launched in March 2010. On the 25th of November 2013, faith communities responded to the leadership of the Archbishop of Capetown, Thabo Makgoba when he committed the Anglican Communion to breaking the silence around SGBV. At an event, held at St. Albans Anglican Cathedral in Pretoria, the Archbishop launched Tearfund’s research report, ‘Breaking the Silence’ and the coalition.
More information can be found at (www.wewillspeakout.org). Membership to WWSOSA is open to all faiths and actors committed to working together to prevent SGBV in South Africa. Survivors of SGBV are invited to the membership of the coalition.
What we do
Survivors of SGBV are key allies in the work of the coalition. To date the coalition is working with nearly 200 survivors in the Western Cape (WC) and KwaZulu Natal (KZN) provinces, providing mentoring and accompaniment to them so that they have an improved quality of life. The work of the coalition is a response to the needs and priorities identified by survivors during the needs assessment in June 2013. Survivors highlighted the need for places of faith to become safe and emphasized the moral imperative for faith leaders to break the silence around SGBV. To date the membership of the coalition has grown to include various denominations and key allies. The work with faith leaders identified their own needs and vulnerabilities including their lack of real understanding about SGBV and their own misinterpretation of gender justice in the Bible.
How we do it
Church Resource Manual on Sexual Gender Based Violence
With support from UNFPA, a resource manual was developed for Churches. A pilot process using contextual bible studies was conducted in KZN and the WC. Survivors and other marginalized members of local communities as well representatives of the Christian Church were involved in the development of this resource.
The manual takes a look at many passages from the Bible in order to help Christians to gain helpful insights into the impact of sexual violence on our communities and churches and to suggest ways we can respond. It includes topics such as ‘sexual violence’, ‘gender and restoring relationships’, ‘ministering to practical needs’, ‘perpetrators and sex offenders’, ‘human trafficking and ‘homosexuality in the Bilbe’.
The Bible studies can be used by individuals but more learning is likely to come if the studies are used in small groups such as Bible study grous, Mothers’ Union meetings, youth groups or other church groups.
This resource is currently available in English and will be disseminated across the membership of the coalition for use in places of worship.
What we have achieved
1. Faith communities will speak out and act.
2. Churches will become safe spaces for survivors.
3. Survivor movements will influence policy and practice.
4. Men and boys will be involved in ending SGBV and promoting gender equality.
These key outcomes speak to the Government national plan, focusing on the strength and added value of faith communities in South Africa.