Rutendo Ngara, Chronicle Reporter
CHURCH leaders have been urged to tackle and not sweep under the carpet Gender Based Violence (GBV) and sexual violations perpetrated in churches.
Speaking during a dialogue on sexual violence with church leaders and Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development representatives, participants said everyone in society looks up to the church whenever they are faced with problems especially GBV.
The dialogue was held under the theme “generation equality stands against rape”.
Reverend Sikhalo Cele of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) in Zimbabwe said the church has its ethics that hinders them from disclosing confidential information to anyone whenever a congregant approaches them in need of help.
“As churches we are at a dilemma because the church has its own way of doing things and the legal framework has its own way of doing things. If a person approaches me and they share their problems, disclosing it to the police means I have breached the laws and ethics of the church. According to the constitution you are supposed to report any act that violates your rights or even your neighbour,” he said. Another participant said some GBV and sexual violation cases are reported at churches and mission schools.
“What surprises me is the fact that we claim to be a Christian country and the majority of women are raped on a daily basis. We have our children who go to mission schools and other church schools but their names were there on the list that was released by the police when they arrested them for engaging in vuzu parties,” she said.
Ms Pamidzai Thaka from the Ecumenical Church Leaders Forum said the church is the most respected and trusted entity in the country so it has to play its role of speaking out to save lives and marriages as well as minimise GBV cases.
“As churches, people are looking up to us to help them and let us help our society and through preaching, counselling among others let us try to eradicate GBV and preach peace all the time,” she [email protected]