Footsteps 106 - Sexual and gender-based violence

Footsteps 106 explores how we can end sexual and gender-based violence and provide holistic support to survivors.

We Will Speak Out pledge cards. Photo: We Will Speak Out
We Will Speak Out pledge cards. Photo: We Will Speak Out


We Will Speak Out is a global coalition of Christian-based organisations working to end sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). It has produced this pledge for those who want to commit to ending SGBV. You can use this as an individual or with your church or organisation.  

We recognise our failure to respond adequately to sexual and gender-based violence, and our role in marginalising those who have experienced its devastating consequences. We recognise that responding to SGBV is essential in our work, in our communities and in our world. We commit to addressing SGBV in our contexts to the best of our abilities, aiming to end it in all its forms, together. 

And so… 

We will speak out. 

We will be silent no more. 

We stand together in solidarity with the most vulnerable and affected. 

We dedicate ourselves to finding lasting solutions, mobilising leadership at all levels. 

We will promote laws that model, protect and promote justice, enable healthy relationships and challenge those that don’t. 

We will work to ensure these laws are enforced. We commit to take action together to see all girls, women, boys and men free from the threat and impact of SGBV across the world. 

If you would like to sign the We Will Speak Out pledge online, please visit

Knotty problem

Question: My church has always supported female genital mutilation/cutting, but I have heard that it is damaging for women. Does the Bible say anything about this? 

Answer: God created the human body and female sexuality and declared them both good (Genesis 1; Song of Songs). Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made; they were created to show God’s glory (Psalm 139). To abuse the body and to destroy the ability to appreciate one of God’s gifts is an insult to his creation.  

It says in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: ‘The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife’ (1 Corinthians 7:4). This does not mean that a husband has control over his wife’s body, but rather that the sexual organs that women were created with have a key role in a sexual relationship and in reproduction. So these organs should be given honour and respect, to the glory of God. Damaging these organs is wrong. Rather, we are to protect our bodies.  

Jesus said that the most important commandments are: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ and ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mark 12:30–31). Romans 13:10 says that ‘Love does no harm to a neighbour’. FGM/C is an extremely harmful practice that has no place in God’s kingdom. 

Adapted from material on FGM/C in Tearfund’s toolkit Reveal: Tools to support community transformation. See 

Do you have a knotty problem you would like the Footsteps community to help with? Write to us as the address below.

Please write to: The Editor, Footsteps, 100 Church Road, Teddington, TW11 8QE, UK