NAIROBI….July 22, 2020
Churches Must Rise Up To The Growing Challenge of Gender Based Violence
Africa is seeing an exponential increase in gender-based violence (GBV) across the continent. Statistics and news reports from different countries indicate that this time of Covid-19 has seen violence against women and children increase in communities in countries.
Given that families are stuck at home due to containment measures for covid-19, women and children have become the focus of frustrations being experienced due to financial difficulties.
According to the General Secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), Rev. Dr Fidon Mwombeki, more women are facing GBV, including murder, amid shocking reports of children being sexually abused, and unbelievable numbers of adolescent pregnancies.
“Unless something is done, violence against women and children will only grow,” he stated.
Speaking to a group of church leaders from West Africa, Rev. Dr Mwombeki said that even during this difficult period of covid-19, the clergy still had a God-given duty to shephard their flock.
“People in our congregations are facing the challenges of this situation, and many women and children are crying, even silently, for help. We cannot ignore their cry for help. We cannot abandon them,” he stated.
The church leaders were undergoing training on Advocacy over Gender-Based Violence and Violence Against Children During Covid-19. The online training was organized by World Vision in June 2020.
Rev. Dr Mwombeki suggested to the church leaders various ways in which they could intervene in addressing violence against women and children. He said that the church can provide safe spaces for victims to report cases of violence, as well as receive specialised counselling.
He said further that churches should actively engage local authorities, and walk with the victims to ensure that they receive justice.
“In some cases, we need to consider providing the victims temporary shelters away from their abusers,” he noted.
The General Secretary stated further that churches needed to undertake advocacy, using its prophetic voice to speak up on behalf of God’s people.
“Advocacy is to act on behalf of the other—normally disadvantaged, person. We are called upon to do just that for the women and children in our congregations, who are bearing the brunt of violence in homes,” he stated.