Provincial Synod speaks on violence against women and children

Provincial Synod has singled out “belief in the dominance of men over women” as one of the causes of violence against women in society.

Proposing a resolution voicing “abhorrence” at violence against women and children, the Very Revd Andrew Hunter, Dean of Grahamstown, said the culture of “toxic masculinity” in society “teaches boys that girls are there for their use and pleasure.”

The resolution passed by Synod said this belief is “an abuse of power and was never displayed by our Lord.”

Synod called on the men present “to examine their inherent belief and practices, and to change whenever and wherever they stand in opposition to Christ with respect to their beliefs and treatment of women and children.”

It also urged men “to speak clearly and boldly” against male domination to other men in society and “to make active space for the voice of women to be heard”. It also sent its love, deepest sympathies and assurance of its heartfelt prayers for all impacted by sexual violence.

The resolution was seconded by Bishop-Elect Luke Pretorius of the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist.

The full text of the resolution read:

This Synod, noting

1. the current level of gender-based violence against women and children

2. the implied patriarchy and belief in the dominance of men over women

3. that such patriarchy for whatever reason; cultural, religious or implied is an abuse of power and was never displayed by our Lord.

Calls upon the men of this Synod – in the light of the example of Christ

1. to examine their inherent beliefs and practices, and to change whenever and wherever they stand in opposition to Christ with respect to their beliefs and treatment of women and children

2. to speak clearly and boldly in their respective settings, and to conscientize other men to this truth of Christ in his respect and acceptance of women and children

3. to make active space for the voice of women to be heard as they share their experiences

4. to encourage men to speak and define their belief and practise with respect to their treatment of women and children

5. to make a stand in this Synod which displays their abhorrence of the current violence against women and children, and

6. sends its love, deepest sympathies and assurance of our heartfelt prayers for all impacted by sexual violence.

We continue to pray for the perpetrators of these violent acts so that God can edify their hearts, their minds and their lives;

We need to examine our use of scripture and its application that has been harmful to women and children;

We should not be ashamed to ask for forgiveness.

Proposed: Very Revd Andrew Hunter

Seconded: Very Revd Luke Pretorius

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