We Will Speak Out (WWSO) is a global coalition of Christian-based NGOs, churches and organizations, supported by an alliance of technical partners and individuals who together commit themselves to see the end of sexual violence across communities around the world.
The WWSO coalition is committed to empowering women and girls, to transforming relationships between women and men, and to ensuring that the voices of survivors of sexual violence – women, girls, men and boys – are central to their work.
Though often prevalent in conflict and humanitarian contexts, sexual violence is common within communities worldwide – but as an issue it remains largely hidden. Women, girls, men and boys are all at risk of sexual violence.
UN statistics find that:
- Today, many women – in some countries as many as one in three – are beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in their lifetimes
- Worldwide, one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime
- On the basis of data collected from 24,000 women in ten countries, between 55 and 95 per cent of women who have been physically abused by their partners have never contacted NGOs, shelters or the police for help
UNiTE to End Violence Against Women, 2009
Churches are an integral part of communities worldwide, with a mandate to care and stand with people who are marginalised and vulnerable. Shame and fear often lead to sexual violence being hidden in both churches and the wider community.
The coalition partnership works together to harness efforts to prevent and eliminate sexual violence by supporting faith groups to speak out against sexual violence, show strong and positive leadership and become a ‘safe’ place for people to go to.
As a coalition, we can work together to influence legislation and policies with a united voice. We seek to give a voice to those who are most marginalised and create platforms for their voices to be heard.
In order to facilitate the work of its members, the WWSOSA coalition:
- Creates networking spaces to facilitate collaborative working
- Provides a platform for joint advocacy campaigns
- Facilitates access to capacity development and technical support to its members
- Operates as a hub for coordination, communications and resource mobilisation
- Documents and/or disseminates evidence-based good practice that contributes to national and global priorities and helps to unify and quantify the faith sector’s response
Leading to the following outcomes:
- Members collaborate on key initiatives, which unifies efforts and deepens the impact of the work
- Members’ voices are amplified by joint advocacy work.
- Members are able to articulate improvements in knowledge and expertise as a result of WWSOSA exchanges and resources made available.
- Evidence-based good practice examples are distributed and potentially influence responses in the faith sector, (as well as other sectors more broadly.
- The collaborative work of member faith communities contributes directly or indirectly towards South Africa’s SDGs as well as its compliance with key international protocols such as the SADC Gender Protoco
WWSOSA Theory of Change WWSOSA Infographic WWSOSA Project Design WWSOSA Strategic Framework (2017 - 2019)
From our history
Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba launching ‘We Will Speak Out: South Africa’ in November 2013.
Population: 51,770,560 (2011 census)
Location: Southern Africa
- 66,065 people reported sexually assaults to the National Police in 2013. Between 80 and 95 percent of rapes are not reported due to fear and stigma.
- Conservative estimates suggest that more than 580,000 rapes could have been committed in 2012
- In 2008, a survey found that 28% of men in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces had raped a woman or girl.
- One third of the men who had committed rape did not feel guilty
Sources: United Nations, Medical Research Council in South Africa, LEAD SA/South African Police Service, Tearfund research findings
I will speak out because…
Join survivors of sexual violence, church leaders, organisations and members of the general public in speaking out against sexual violence by SIGNING OUR PLEDGE HERE
Breaking the Silence Report
Breaking the silence demonstrates the urgent need for the local and national church in South Africa to unite, work with key stakeholders and take action to end sexual violence (SV). The report highlights three key points:
1. Sexual violence is widespread across South Africa and has a deeply traumatising and damaging effect on survivors.
2. The church has often failed survivors of sexual violence. Many churches deepen the impact of sexual violence through their silence, stigma and discrimination. Some churches have not done enough to care for the marginalised or to speak out on their behalf.
3. The church is central to community life and has untapped potential to prevent and respond to sexual violence. It can provide care and support, stand alongside survivors seeking justice, and identify and challenge harmful attitudes and beliefs within society that perpetuate sexual violence.