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SA: Statement by We Will Speak Out, coalition against sexual violence, on launching 'We Will Speak Out' campaign in South Africa (22/11/2013)

22nd November 2013

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We Will Speak Out is a coalition committed to demonstrating, mobilising, and equipping leadership to end the pain of sexual violence across the world. We recognize that together, we need to speak out against sexual violence and break the silence that exists. Let us join hands and work together to change this story forever.
 
We Will Speak Out will be launching its campaign in South Africa after successful campaigns in other African countries such as Burundi, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Liberia at the Cathedral Church of St Alban the Martyr, in Pretoria, on the 25th of November 2013 at 10h00. The launch has been endorsed and will be chaired by the Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.
 
A report on research done with survivors of sexual violence and communities including church leaders, compiled by various local and national campaign partners will be launched with a panel of experts sharing their views on the problems as well. The report is called ‘Breaking the Silence’ and highlights 3 things, namely; (a) widespread sexual violence across South Africa, the deep traumatising and damaging effects on survivors; (b) Silence of the church that deepens the impact of sexual violence, stigma and discrimination and (c) the church’s untapped potential to prevent and respond to sexual violence as it can provide care and support, stand alongside the survivors seeking justice, identify and challenge harmful  attitudes and beliefs within the society that perpetuates sexual violence.
 
We would like members of the public to join us on the 25th November 2013 to bring their views and opinions on this problem within South Africa so that they can be heard and so that they can hear what is happening in their country and how sexual violence is being fought. We also hope that this launch event will mark the establishment of a joined up, multi sectoral national task force that will work together and be accountable to ending the prevalence and impact of sexual violence in South Africa.
 
We can no longer look the other way; sexual violence in the country is everybody’s business. We call on men, in particular, to join us in this campaign. Their voice is critical. Let all men say so far and not further.
 
Religious leaders will meet on the 26th November do develop concrete plans on how this campaign will be localised and taken forward in South Africa. This will be done in partnership with women rights organisations already working in these areas.
 
Members of the media are welcome to attend. And a media briefing will be held with Archbishop Makgoba and leaders of the coalition after the launch.

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