Interfaith movement from commitment to action Against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide
There is a movement in the country. A movement against gender-based violence and femicide by faith-inspired servant leaders, scholars, activists, survivors, faith leaders and concerned citizens of South Africa who are uniting to speak out and mobilise for change. The Faith Action to End GBV Collective is running an Interfaith Campaign centred around a jointly-crafted Interfaith Statement of Commitment that calls on all people of faith to sign and make concrete change in their faith communities and institutions.
The National Strategic Plan
The National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide refers to the critical role of the faith sector as part of the solution to “mobilise through faith, dignity, humanity, ubuntu, social justice and gender justice, harness their capacity as agents of social norm change”. The 2022 GBVF Summit adopted of the faith
community representatives’ resolutions “to establish shared ethical values founded on standards of mutual accountability within the faith-based sector and build its capacity to (i) support survivors of GBV against
perpetrators; (ii) dismantle patriarchy from religious teachings and practices, whilst integrating more women into senior leadership roles; and (iii) strengthen spiritual healing and restorative justice, whilst eradicating all forms of spiritual abuse.”
Statement of Commitment
A draft joint Statement of Commitment has been meticulously crafted by dedicated scholars and passionate activists within the faith sector and is being carefully validated by various faith communities, reflecting a
united front against GBV and femicide.
Here follow snippets of the Statement that commits us to concrete action as a united faith sector going
A Lived Reality
This means that GBVF is a lived reality in our faith communities.
We admit faith communities have not done enough to end this destruction and have sometimes, by our
inaction, silence, misuse of sacred texts, or condoning GBVF, thereby consciously or unconsciously being
complicit in the scourge of GBVF.
We recognise that we have contributed to the current crisis through our own woundedness linked to our
personal and communal traumas related to the history of apartheid, colonial and patriarchal oppression and
violence that robbed us all of dignity and self-respect.
We understand these ills are linked to our past, but we also take responsibility for the present. South Africa is
characterised by a complex and multi-dimensional set of historic and current intersectional inequalities that
make it one of the most unequal societies in the world.
The legacy of apartheid has created a South African context where gender inequality intersects with and compounds other forms of inequality in terms of socio-economic disadvantage, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religion.
To fulfil our mandate we call on truth, love and God’s mercy to restore our self-respect and dignity in order to offer the hope and
healing needed. We are blessed to live in a democracy where we are now free to confront GBVF and
interrogate the root causes of biases, toxic norms, stereotypes and structural inequalities.
In the Interfaith Statement we identify our shared ideals:
We are a human family that is diverse and unique, composed of many faith traditions that all share some core
common values and truths. Some of these essential truths include:
Showing empathy, understanding and care for all is the shared foundation of all faiths.
We are one species and we need each other to survive and thrive.
We are all God’s creation and have a shared right to fairness and EQUITY.
PEACE, JUSTICE and MERCY
These are the pillars of peace. These three enable restorative healing.
These shared hopes can be summed up by the South African philosophy of UBUNTU – a way of being that
celebrates that all humans are deeply interconnected and that encourages GENEROSITY of spirit, enables
BELONGING and INCLUSIVITY.
We strive to nurture mutual RESPECT, to act justly with COMPASSION and HUMILITY, and to speak TRUTH
even when costly. FAITH is crucial and central in the way we understand the basic building blocks of our
society. All forms of violence have no support or justification in our shared faith values. We understand that
religious ideals and prayer are inadequate alone.
We now commit to translating our faith into action.
COMMITMENT TO ACTION
We jointly and personally commit to practical steps which are outlined in detail in the draft Statement:
We remain steadfast in the promise of a true democracy and in the spirit of unity and the need for contextually-
appropriate action, we commit to continuing to build a united and active interfaith collective for mutual support and to
hold one another accountable
1 . To translate our hopes and ideals into decisive action through proactive policy
development we have identified specific actions to be taken as outlined in our final Statement.
We believe that through our shared hopes and ideals, by acknowledging our shortcomings and committing to
this decisive course of action, we can establish UBUNTU in our Rainbow Nation and transform into a CULTURE
OF PEACE. You are invited to join this Campaign and add your name and commitment to this individual and
joint Statement to Action to End GBVF in South Africa.
Statement to Action to End GBVF in South Africa.
We invite you to get involved in the validation process as this is our collective Statement and we need your
As a key stakeholder in the national strategic plan on GBV and femicide, we are guided by a key set of faith sector
resolutions agreed at the November 2022 National Summit:
“to establish shared ethical values founded on standards for mutual accountability within the faith-based sector
and build its capacity to (i) support survivors of GBV against perpetrators; (ii) dismantle patriarchy from religious
teachings and practices, whilst integrating more women into senior leadership roles; and (iii) strengthen spiritual
healing and restorative justice, whilst eradicating all forms of spiritual abuse.”
(NSP Summit Resolutions, pages 5 and 7)
Together we can end Gender-Based Violence & Femicide in South Africa.
Communications Specialist | Gender Advocate | Founder Asante Gender Justice