Gender and sexual violence


Global poverty often has a woman’s face. Seventy per cent of those living in poverty are women, and more than half a million women die in pregnancy and childbirth each year.

Gender-based violence causes more deaths and disability among women aged 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war (WHO, World report on violence and health, 2000).

Tear assesses project proposals on gender sensitivity. This means that a project looks into socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women and addresses imbalances.

Sexual violence

In 2015 Tear identified a new area of work: sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). This thematic area emerged from both our work on HIV and Aids, as well as our humanitarian response in (post) conflict settings. Its widespread prevalence  undermines the human rights, safety and dignity of millions of affected people.  

SGBV affects 1 out of every 3 women around the world, with 1 in every 33 men suffering SGBV. Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is violence directed against anyone based on their sex (the biological differences between male and female) or gender (the socially constructed images of what it means to be male or female). It encompasses physical, sexual, verbal and psychological violence, independently of their setting.

Unequal power relations and inequality in social standing between men and women are the main reasons for SGBV. Together with our partners we work to assist survivors of SGBV with medical, legal and psychological support, as well as advocacy to break the silence around sexual violence and engage faith communities, including men and boys to challenge harmful attitudes and beliefs and increase equality and dignity for all.

Tear believes that churches and faith communities have a key role to play in ending sexual violence: by breaking the silence and stigma around sexual violence, by supporting survivors and challenging harmful attitudes and practices surrounding gender issues that often enable or condone violence. 


Some of our partners work in (post)conflict settings with survivors of violence, while others focus on prevention and support of domestic violence, trafficking, or other forms of SGBV. Empowering families, communities and churches to prevent and respond forms the core of all our work. Interventions may include: empowering faith based organisations and communities to speak out and recognize sexual violence as an injustice; to tackle stigma en taboo around sexual violence; to create safe spaces for survivors; to advocate for an end to sexual violence and challenging attitudes, beliefs and theological frames that justify it; prevention through building healthy perspectives on gender equality, masculinity and femininity; support to survivors of sexual violence through improved access to medical treatment, pastoral and psychological care, legal support to access justice and help end the culture of impunity.

Tear is part of the international We Will Speak Out alliance: a global movement of faith based organisations, faith leaders and INGOs geared to end sexual violence and empower survivors to speak out and advocate for change: for laws that protect, for support and dignity for survivors, and for safe communities where men and women can live free from sexual violence, stigma and judgement.


Ontwerp & realisatie: Nilsson