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New film highlights extent of sexual violence in Malawi


Catherine Scott
WVoN co-editor 

Theresa Malila, founder of Somebody Cares Ministries, works with churches in Malawi to educate people about the problem of gender-based violence, and encourage community leaders to take a strong stance and help to end it.

Malila is spreading her message via a powerful short film, which tells the harrowing tale of Rose, a Malawian woman who was raped at knifepoint and became HIV-positive as a result. A 2004 study showed that 55% of Malawian women had been raped or forced to have sex.

The film also looks at the failure to detect child sexual abuse because the perpetrators are protected by the community.

Malila says during the film,”When I see the children that are being raped, the age groups, I cannot believe it…I ask myself, does God see this?”.

She has brought together 250 villages and 1000 churches in Malawi, focusing on the need for community improvement.

Her goals include better resources for sexual assault survivors, improved medical services and awareness surrounding HIV, and strategies to empower women, such as microfinance loans for starting small businesses.

Malila’s work is endorsed by Tearfund, a Christian charity which last year launched a report called Silent No More with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The report looked at how the global church can use its platform to address the worldwide problem of sexual violence.

Malila is committed to “raise an army that will speak out, that will not be silent.”

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