We Will Speak Out South Africa is a coalition of more than 200 individuals, organisations and church groups – including faith leaders and survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) – who work together to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence in the faith sector and wider society, counter stigma against survivors and bring healing.
We are part of an international coalition founded in 2011.
We dream of:
We dream of transformed, just and reconciled communities where the lives of women, boys and girls are no longer shattered by gender-based violence.
We believe that building a united and effective faith response to ending sexual and gender-based violence can help to achieve our dream in South Africa.
Why are we needed?
We are facing huge challenges. South Africa has the highest incidence of rape of any country that is not at war. In spite of many GBV initiatives, there is evidence that this violence is getting worse. A study by KPMG (2014) shows that GBV is costing South Africa’s economy at least R 28.4 Billion every year.
We regularly hear of prejudice and stigma against survivors from those who should be providing caring and effective services.
We believe that the positive and active involvement of the religious sector is a key part of the solution.
Why the faith sector?
More than 85% of South Africans report being religious. The strong influence religion can have on people’s attitudes can help change social norms and end gender-based violence. There are places of worship in every urban and rural community that can play a vital role in survivor support.
Unfortunately, we often hear reports of even religious leaders abusing their power through sexual misconduct.
But we also hear of some churches speaking up strongly against GBV and offering much needed support. International agencies and governments, including the South African Government, realise the importance of working together with religious leaders in this work.
Although from diverse religious backgrounds, we are united by our values:
We believe all people are created in God’s image;
We respect and uphold the dignity of all people and the wider creation;
We are guided by those most directly affected;
We believe that God is a God of Justice – and that we are called to work for justice;
We are driven by a commitment to gender equality.
How do we work?
All our members have their own programmes and activities, but we agree to also work together.
All strategies and activities are underpinned by the following four pillars:
Pillar 1: Supporting a vibrant, growing and vocal movement of survivors of SGBV
Pillar 2: Sensitising and equipping faith leaders to become advocates to end SGBV and survivor stigma.
Pillar 3: Undertaking joint advocacy initiatives and campaigns
Pillar 4: Engaging men and boys, together with women and girls, as allies to end SGBV
The WWSOSA Coordination Hub helps us work together by:
1. Creating physical and virtual networking spaces for us to work together and strengthen our impact
2. Providing opportunities to develop joint advocacy campaigns to influence those in authority
3. Providing links to training and online resources to help us learn and grow, and be more effective
4. Operating as a hub for coordination, communications and resource mobilisation – helping members to connect to each other, find partners for joint actions and sometimes raise funds together
5. Collecting stories in documents or videos that celebrate what members are doing and we are doing together in the faith sector, to learn from each other and influence others to inspire them to transform.
We can reduce sexual and gender-based violence and its effects by working together, as:
- Survivors: Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence create support groups and structures and are able to speak out in public spaces.
- Advocacy: Faith leaders are challenged and enabled to speak out against sexual and gender-based violence.
- Faith Communities Engage: Faith communities become safer spaces for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
- Allies: Men and boys are engaged as allies together with women and girls in the struggle against sexual and gender-based violence.
The work WWSOSA does contributes directly or indirectly to South Africa’s Sustainable Development Goalsas well as its compliance with key international protocols such as the SADC Gender Protocol.
Do you want to be part of this movement towards equipping our churches, mosques, temples and other places of worship to end violence and create the loving world God desires for us?
Complete a membership form and let’s work together to create the change we want to see!
Our work can be summarised by the following infographic and theory of change: