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'Silent no more': Faith leaders, aid agencies and the church speak out against sexual violence

Anglican Archbishop of The Congo, Tamsin Greig and the Archbishop of Canterbury

Monday 21st March 2011

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, today welcomed senior church leaders and international development agencies at Lambeth Palace to pledge that the church will play a part in ending sexual violence and to launch a Tearfund report 'Silent No More'.

In speaking about how the church can help end sexual violence and stigma, Dr Rowan Williams said: "It is of the first importance that churches and all communities of faith continue to hold before the world's eyes the absolute priority for justice and dignity for all. We need to equip people to become agents of change and agents of hope. I hope this is the beginning of the church being what it ought to be and should be."

He was joined on the panel by Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS: "People forced into sex are automatically denied the means to protect themselves against HIV. Women and girls are most affected and are most vulnerable to HIV. UNAIDS will work closely faith based organizations to ensure the dignity and protection of women and girls."

Speaking alongside Dr Williams was the Archbishop of Democratic Republic of Congo the Most Revd Henri Isingoma and his wife Mme Mugisa and the Archbishop of Burundi the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi.

Lyn Lusi, co-founder of HEAL Africa, a Tearfund partner, works with the local church to enable them to better support those affected by sexual violence. Lyn commented: "Attitudes to women need to change if a woman's lot is to get better. The challenge for us and the church is to follow the example of William Wilberforce in making the change for justice for men and women.

It's about partnership as God intended, and understanding one another's roles. The church needs to be a model for this partnership."

The report, 'Silent No More', launched this morning by Tearfund highlights the largely untapped potential of the church in preventing and reducing the impact of sexual violence. The report documents that whilst many churches have deepened the impact of sexual violence through silence, worldwide churches have the potential to respond as they are a key part of community life.

To sign the commitment or download the report 'Silent No More' please visit:

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