Statement by the Archbishop of Melanesia, the Most Rev. George A Takeli, on sexual violence
AS Chairman of the Solomon Islands Christian Association (SICA), I want to join the many concerned individuals, families, and groups who have already spoken out to condemn acts of sexual violence against our children and girls as reported by the daily media in past weeks.
In doing so, I wish to make this statement to convey the position of SICA on this immoral action committed against our children and girls in families and communities around our country: as leaders of member churches of the Solomon Islands Christian Association (SICA), we want to jointly express our serious pastoral concerns over reports of regular occurrences of cases of sexual violence against our children and girls in some communities around our country.
We strongly condemn “acts of violence in every form”, and declared that sexual violence against our children and girls is “sin by its painful dishonest exploitation, and a crime against humanity”
We strongly condemn “acts of violence in every form”, and declared that sexual violence against our children and girls is “sin by its painful dishonest exploitation, and a crime against humanity”.
We want to assure victims of these acts of sexual violence and their families of our prayers and support.
We declare that men of whatever age, status, race, or relationship in the family or community, do not have the right to freely advance their personal desires to cause violence, especially sexual violence against children and girls in their families or communities.
We are concerned that the actions of only a few men in our communities had influenced the belief that men are the perpetrators of violence in the family, communities, and nation.
We believe that in the scriptures, man is not presented as the perpetrator of violence, but as: the image of God (Gen1:26), the presence of God in the family (Gen 2:7), the manager of God’s family (Gen 2:15), and an agent of change (Gen 2:4b-21).
We believe that men are entrusted with the highest moral or spiritual responsibility to be “father leaders” witnessing the presence of God in the family, the manager protector and caregiver in the family, an agent of change and channel of healing and hope for the family.
And so, the children: both girls and boys and the whole family can find love and care and hope for the future from the man in the family.
We believe that every culture in communities around our nation also gave custodian of these same moral values on the role of men in the family and communities.
In these cultures men, especially elderly men in our families and communities are given honour and respect for their roles of maintaining unity, peace, and harmony in the family and communities.
We want to urge men and especially elderly men in our nation to recognize their true worth and their God given roles as: father leader and presence of God in the family, protector and caregiver of God’s love in the family, an agent of change for healing and growth and hope in the family.
We urge men and especially elderly men in our nation to recognize that as men we cannot do this work alone as affirmed by the Holy Scriptures (Gen2:18), but must work with our mothers and women to carry out these duties to build safe, happy, and prosperous homes for every family and communities in our nation.
It is our unceasing prayers and support that through the family life ministry work of our churches all men and especially elderly men in our nation will recognise their true personal worth and callings, and will rise up!” to take their rightful positions as men of God: father leaders, protector and caregivers, and agents of change and growth for families and communities in our nation Solomon Islands.
As we celebrate Good Friday this week, we want to offer a prayer of forgiveness for our men: Gracious God, through your love and mercy forgive the wrongdoings of every man in this nation. Wash them clean with the precious blood of Jesus Christ to make them new.
Make them become God fearing men who will rise up to take responsibility over their families: their daughters, women and themselves.
Make them strong and courageous to work together with their women to build their homes become loving, joyful, peaceful, progressive, and prosperous families in our nation for your honour and glory.
George A Takeli, The Most Revd
Chairman of Solomon Islands Christian Association
27 March 2018