Working with survivors

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a global epidemic affecting approximately one in three women according to the World Health Organization, irrespective of social status, ethnicity or age. Often, these women and girls are stigmatised and blamed for the violence perpetrated against them.

We seek to bring restoration to their lives by allowing them to share their stories and their needs – and to share their collective experiences with those who have power and authority to effect change. Our goal is to work effectively with faith communities and transform social norms to reduce SGBV. We also aim to positively change attitudes towards survivors.

Journey to healing

Through a process called Journey to Healing, survivors of SGBV share their stories without stigma in peer support groups, and begin to speak out against the abuse perpetrated against them.  

The Journey to Healing approach was developed through Tearfund’s extensive work with peer support groups of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in South Africa. This approach is a successful and replicable model that can easily be adapted to different contexts. There are two manuals to support the process.

Journey to healing manual 1 front coverJourney to Healing Manual 1: A Shared Journey (PDF 2.1 MB)
This manual is intended to equip champions – the leaders of peer support groups – to realise their own dreams of supporting survivors. It can be used to strengthen the capacity of champions leading survivor networks and the global movement to end SGBV.

Journey to healing manual 2 front coverJourney to Healing Manual 2: Out of the Shadows (PDF 2.6 MB)
This manual is intended for champions – the leaders of peer support groups – to help them facilitate a journey to healing with survivors of SGBV.

research reports

In this section, you will find reports from our research in listening to survivors of SGBV in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Colombia.

Warning: please be aware that some of the accounts in these reports describe sexual violence in graphic detail and may be distressing to some readers.

Are we listening to survivors front coverAre we listening to survivors? (PDF 1.2 MB)
This report presents a summary of the key themes that emerged in our qualitative baseline researches with survivors of sexual violence undertaken between 2013 and 2016 in Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, South Africa, Burundi, Myanmar and Colombia.

Silent no more report cover

Silent No More (PDF 2.3 MB) 
Based on research from Liberia, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, this report presents how churches have perpetuated a culture of silence around sexual violence and have largely failed to respond to the crisis and may even worsen the impact by reinforcing stigma and discrimination experience by survivors. This report calls all churches to account and to action and highlights the need for the church to listen to the experiences and opinions of those personally affected by SGBV and to put the care of survivors at the heart of its response.
This report is also available in French (PDF 1.4 MB)

Part of a series of reports showing the results of needs assessments with survivors of sexual violence.

South Africa K Natal Report cover

Breaking the silence - KwaZulu Natal, South Africa (PDF 1.6 MB)

Burundi report 2 cover

Breaking the silence - Burundi (PDF 400 KB)

Part of a series of reports focused on listening to the experiences and needs of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

Falling on deaf ears front cover

Falling on deaf ears? - Plateau state, Nigeria (PDF 1.4 MB)

If I speak out English cover

If I speak out: will it change? - Democratic Republic of Congo  (PDF 450 KB)
This report is also available in French (PDF 462 KB)  

Lifting our voices report cover

Lifting our voices, building hope - Colombia (PDF 572 KB) 
This report is also available in Spanish (PDF 582 KB)

To make our voices heard - Central African Republic (PDF 672 KB)
This report is also available in French (PDF 670 KB)

Our daughters' voices - Myanmar (PDF 446 KB)
This report is also available in the Myanmar language (PDF 12.4 MB)

South Africa W Cape Exec report

Waiting to Speak - Western Cape, South Africa (Summary) (PDF 316 KB)