Who Are We?
We Will Speak Out South Africa is a group/coalition with a membership of more than 200 individuals, organisations and church groups - including faith leaders, members, and survivors of SGBV - who work together to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence in the faith sector and wider society, counter stigma against survivors and work to bring healing.
We are part of something bigger:
WWSOSA is the South African Chapter of an International WWSO Coalition, which works towards transformed, just and reconciled communities where the lives of women, boys and girls are no longer shattered by gender-based violence.
We dream of:
A united and effective faith response to ending sexual and gender-based violence in South Africa.
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.
All strategies and activities are underpinned by the following four pillars:
Pillar 1: Supporting a vibrant and vocal movement of individuals, groups and associations of survivors of SGBV
Pillar 2: Sensitising and equipping faith leaders to become advocates to end SGBV and to end the stigmatisation of survivors
Pillar 3: Undertaking joint advocacy initiatives and campaigns to raise awareness of SGBV
Pillar 4: Engaging men and boys, together with women and girls, as allies to end SGBV
All our members have their own programmes and activities, but we agree to also work together.
We have a small secretariat that coordinates the work we do together so that our work is stronger, more effective and more visible. The Secretariat helps us work together by:
1. Creating physical and virtual networking spaces to make it easier to work together and strengthens our impact.
2. Providing opportunities to develop advocacy campaigns together to strengthen our voices and influence those in authority.
3. Providing links to training and online resources to help us learn and grow, to be more effective in our work.
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, and sharing them among members as well as wider society. This helps us learn from each other and influence others to inspire them to transform.
When we work together, we believe that sexual and gender-based violence and its effects will be reduced, because:
- 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 Goals as well as its compliance with key international protocols such as the SADC Gender Protocol.
Our work can be summarised by the following infographic and theory of change:
Do you want to be part of a movement to equip 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!
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.