Female Priest Accepts Church's Offer to Help in Rape Allegation Case

By Robin-Lee Francke
September 1, 2020

Reverend June Major's hunger strike. June embarked on a hunger strike outside the Cape Town home of Anglican archbishop Thabo Makgoba in Bishopscourt, saying she wanted the church to finally take her rape in 2002 seriously. She has alleged that her rapist, a priest, is still ministering. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - The Anglican Church’s Safe and Inclusive Church Commission’s offer to assist the female priest who has been vocal about her alleged rape by a fellow member of the cloth has been accepted.

The commission, known as Safe Church, was established in 2019 and includes gender activists who have been campaigning to root out abuse.

Reverend June Major, 51, has alleged that she was raped in 2002 at the Grahamstown seminary by a fellow priest and has accused the clergy of doing nothing about the crime.

On Tuesday she released a statement stating she would be accepting the help of Safe Church extended last month.

“I have decided to accept your invitation to participate in the Safe Church's process to investigate my allegations of rape and the Anglican Church’s role in protecting my rapist, who still ministers in the Diocese of Cape Town, resulting in my isolation and further traumatisation as a victim,” Major said.

She stated her reason for accepting the assistance was for justice to be served within the church, which operates in a country where rape and violence are prevalent.

On June 29, Major went on a hunger strike and pitched a tent outside the Bishopscourt, Cape Town, home of Thabo Makgoba, the archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. The hunger strike ended five days later after Major met with Makgoba.

Chairperson of the commission Rosalie Manning said Major had two options: she could act using church law or file criminal charges under state law.

Under church law, an internal investigation would be conducted by the church, in terms of canon law. Major would have to appoint a presenter of her choice to state her case before a tribunal, which is open to the public.

Major told African News Agency she believes she has to do this not only for herself but also for other victims of rape and abuse within and outside the church.

“As I have stated many times before, I have no desire for vengeance. I only pray that I will be fairly heard, and I am able to restore my ministry and service in the church in an environment which is safe and non-threatening,” Major said.

However, Major said she has reservations about receiving a fair hearing as the church has protected her alleged rapist for 18 years.








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