In the midst of a pandemic (sexual and gender-based violence) within a pandemic (COVID-19), SMMS men appreciated SMMS women with gifts to show them how the men in the community serve as a corrective to the societal attitude of patriarchal domination of women.

In handing over their gifts, the men of the seminary said they share in women’s immeasurable pain.

“When as men we hurt our mothers, sisters and daughters with harsh words, cold indifference and actions, when sexual and gender-based violence have become a norm in our home, the Church, the nation, and the world, we wish to express our regret, and take this opportunity to render our appreciation for having amazing women like you in our midst.

“This springs from our conviction that every person is created in the image of God. As a result, efforts to suppress the reality of your pain and lament will undermine the legitimacy of our values and will be an assault on our faith,” SMMS men said.

The men said they view it as a God-given responsibility of their generation to inherit the unfinished struggle of protecting and promoting the rights of women and girls and in the process, help transform our future.

“It is our intention as men of this faith community to serve as the conscience of the body of Christ and as a source of resilient hope. Spaces and institutions such as SMMS should be the vanguard for providing both moral vision and organising means to protect the most vulnerable against any form of abuse,” they said.

The gifts included roses, chocolates and a very special message to each one of them.

In accepting the gifts on behalf of the women, SMMS President Dr Rowanne Marie admitted that gender-based violence has become a plague in our society but was quick to add that through the actions of these men were rays of hope.

“Sadly, men out there have become symbols of aggression, violence, brutality, hatred and abuse, while women are left feeling like objects, often broken to pieces. It is indeed a difficult time in our nation, in which women live in fear. But amidst the fear and anxiety, there is hope! It is men such as each one of you who offer us hope! When we consider each one of you, we see in you brothers who want to be different, and with a desire to make a difference. We see in you men who have encountered God’s love, and we see in you men who want to embody that love by respecting each one of us, your sisters, who are created equally in the image of a holy and loving God.

She expressed sincere gratitude to the men of the Village and said the women were ‘surprised’ by the very kind gesture.

“Thank you for your commitment to be better and to do better. Thank you for your commitment to love, protect, and care for women more intentionally, with a greater level of gentleness, support, affirmation, patience and kindness. Thank you for giving us a renewed hope that there are excellent men in the SMMS community who will become role models to Church and Nation,” Dr Marie said.