Violence against women decried

Published December 1, 1999

A comprehensive motion to tackle violence against women was passed unanimously by the Provincial Synod of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa. The motion encouraged the church to improve awareness of the problems women face, to offer care and support to victims, and to implement stringent measures to deal with perpetrators. According to the report in Anglican News, the newspaper of the Diocese of Natal, the disturbing and painful issue of violence against women is part of a moral decay pervading society in Southern Africa, and is of grave concern to all Anglicans. The Bishop of Grahamstown, Bethlehem Nopece, who proposed the motion, said clergy need to say more about violence against women in their sermons. He pointed out that while laws can be put in place to tackle this problem, nothing will improve until men change their attitudes and values about women and violence. Canon Erica Murray who seconded the motion and runs a support group for abused women in Cape Town said “I come from Rape Town.” Tandi Xundu of the Mothers’ Union quoted from an article which claimed that nearly half of all reports of violence in Durban came from Christian homes. In a recent press statement, the Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, declared rape to be an act of physical, spiritual and emotional violence. He said it was also a manifestation of unequal power relationships, just like militarism, racism, political oppression and patriarchy.


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