Staff at the the Lutheran Communion of Southern Africa are helping to highlight  efforts to overcome gender-based violence. Photo: Ann Mokhine/LUCSA

In a message on 15 October, Rev. Dr David Tswaedi, executive director of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa, lamented that the voices of survivors and victims of gender-based violence have been muted, due to stigma and the perceived power of the perpetrators.

In his statement, Tswaedi acknowledged that, for the survivors of gender-based violence, pain often becomes a permanent part of their psyches—visibly or invisibly. “At times their silent pain seems to be caught in invisible barbwire,” the message reads. “We also would want to offer requisite support to the perpetrators to realize the gravity of their actions and signal to them that help is available for them as well.”

The Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa committed to join ecumenical voices and actions, including the Thursdays in Black campaign for a world free from rape and violence. “Our Lord Jesus Christ was always found on the side of those whose voices were ignored by their societies,” he stated.

He urged the member churches “to amply raise their voices against GBV and provide much needed support for the victims and survivors”

The communion has begun an initiative to “Stand up against gender-based violence”. While planned workshops have not been able to take place because of COVID-19 restrictions, they have sent educational posters to 15 member churches, as well as banners and Thursdays in Black t-shirts.

Thursdays in Black