Christian Aid is working as part of a coalition of church groups and aid agencies to end sexual violence in communities across the world.
On 21 March 2011 Christian Aid, Tearfund and Lambeth Palace brought together senior faith leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishops of Burundi and DRC, along with UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé, to commit to taking action on sexual violence.
Mme Benedicte of CBCA (left) and Francoise (right), victim of sexual violence in DRC
The purpose of the event was to discuss practical ways that churches can work together to fight sexual violence around the world.
Faith leaders, survivors of sexual violence and NGOs promised to take action: raising the issue of sexual violence in their local communities and churches, developing practical support for survivors and building a movement to challenge its impact worldwide.
In speaking about combating sexual violence and the resulting stigma, Dr Rowan Williams said: 'Communities of faith need to equip people to become agents of change and agents of hope. I hope this is the beginning of the church being what it ought to be and should be.'
Michel Sidibé added: 'People forced into sex are automatically denied the means to protect themselves against HIV.
Women and girls are most affected and are most vulnerable to HIV, accounting for one quarter of new HIV infections. UNAIDS will work closely faith based organizations to ensure the dignity and protection of women and girls.'
One of Christian Aid’s current initiatives on sexual violence involves helping the Baptist Church in eastern DRC support the victims of rape. Francoise (pictured) was helped by CBCA to bring a case against the man who raped her. He was sentenced to 25 years jail.
A report, ‘Silent No More’, launched by Tearfund highlights the largely untapped potential of the church in preventing and reducing the impact of sexual violence.
Silent No More is a coalition of like minded church groups, international aid agencies and an alliance of Christians who together commit themselves to see the end of sexual violence across communities around the world. The coalition currently consists of the following members:
The Anglican Communion
Click here for more information and to sign onto the commitment pledge.