Home South Africa News Former priest challenges Anglican Archbishop about rape

Former priest challenges Anglican Archbishop about rape

Reverend June Major

A former female priest of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa embarked on a hunger strike on Wednesday to force the church to address the rape she suffered allegedly at the hands of a priest in 2002.

Reverend June Major, 51, set-up a tent and chair in front of the home of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba in Bishop’s Court, Cape Town. Major was formerly a part of the Cape Town Diocese and ministered at St Saviour’s Church in Claremont, St George’s in Silvertown, and at St Matthew’s in Harfield Village.

She has alleged being raped in 2002 at the Grahamstown Seminary by a fellow priest, and accused the clergy of doing nothing about the crime.

Major embarked on a hunger strike four years ago after the charges she finally filed against her alleged rapist came to naught. She told African News Agency (ANA) on Wednesday that she would continue with the hunger strike for as long as needed.

“Four years ago I also went on a hunger strike but now I will keep going. I am camping out outside the home of the archbishop as I want him to address me.

“The archbishop speaks out about gender-based violence, and at the time of the murder of Uyinene [Mrwetyana] he conveyed his condolences, stating society needs to address the prevalence of violence against women and children, but what about me? What he has done pains me,” she said.

Major said that since reporting the alleged rape to the church, she had been rendered unemployed, homeless and hungry. She said oppression, gender-based violence and abuse was rife in the church.

I am not going to leave until I speak to [the archbishop] face to face. My rapist is still preaching. I am not his only victim, there have been more. I want the archbishop to acknowledge and do something about this.

“He cannot address these issues in his sermons but cover it up in the church,” she said.

Majors said she also wanted the archbishop to address her and her alleged rapist in one sitting so that she could tell them “just what they did to me, how broken I am. This man is still ministering and it breaks my heart.”

She encouraged victims of gender-based violence to support her, and to tell their own stories. The Anglican Church of Southern Africa is yet to respond to ANA’s queries.

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Source: IOL