Father’s Day: 'Men of faith must examine their role as fathers, brothers, partners'
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Johannesburg - Sonke Gender Justice (SGJ), in collaboration with faith organisations including the South African Council of Churches (SACC), is launching a Men of Faith Against Gender-based Violence campaign this Father’s Day on Sunday.
More than 60 percent of South Africa’s children do not have a father to relate to, one in three women will be sexually attacked - possibly by a father or potential father, the NPO said in a statement.
Likewise, two in five were beaten by their partners, and half would be sexually harassed at work. Worse still, as witnessed recently, one in 15 would be murdered by their partner, SGJ said.
Sonke, the Justice and Peace Commission, and various faith organisations, and supported by the United Nations (UN) Women South Africa multi-country office and the entire UN family in South Africa, called on men of faith to examine their role as fathers, brothers, uncles, husbands, and partners this Father’s Day.
“To this end, we have worked with partners on a pledge by men of faith to do all in their power to end gender-based violence [GBV] and femicide. Today, we are meant to celebrate fathers; sadly this will be done with a lot of mixed emotions due to the war that men waged on women's bodies,” SGJ senior strategic advisor Bafana Khumalo said in the statement.
Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana of the South African Council of Churches endorsed Sonke’s stance: “GBV is proving to be a silent pandemic accompanying the Covid-19 [pandemic]. In this regard, the SACC national church leaders weekly Covid watch meeting endorsed the campaign against GBV."
The SACC called on all men to #ResistPatriarchy, change the narrative of what it meant to be a man, and treat all women with dignity and respect.
"We call on all men in our country to take a firm stand against GBV and femicide, and to commit to work as allies with all organisations that are working in this sector. As people of faith we need to lead from the front in all efforts that seek to heal our land of this scourge, support women and girls in all their endeavours as they seek to actualise their dreams of living in a violence free country," Mpulwana said.