Cape Town reverend June Major has named and shamed her alleged abusers, saying she could not be an activist against gender violence, while covering up for perpetrators of violence. Major addressed journalists at a press conference on Wednesday to highlight the reasons why she’s been discriminated against by the Anglican Diocese in Cape Town. After none of her alleged abusers were brought to book for their actions; Major publicly named them in the presence of media, adding that they still lead congregations today.
The conference follows her six day hunger strike aimed at bringing desperate attention to her struggles within the Church. Major’s hunger strike came to an end after Archbishop Thabo Magkoba met with her and promised that her concerns will be addressed. Major is currently without work and a home.
“After meeting the Bishop Garth, as promised by Archbishop Thabo, none of my issues were resolved. Instead, he chose to focus on technical administration. I asked for my papers so I can go and apply at another Anglican Diocese outside of Cape Town, he flatly told me that I will need to put in an official request, which he will then review. I appealed to his humanity. All I ask is that I move on and find work and a place to stay. I just want to be able to buy food and my own toiletries,” Major said.
However, Major’s gripe with Bishop Garth Counsell stems from years of reporting her alleged assaulters and nothing being done to bring her justice. Major claims she’s been the victim of sexual, mental and emotional abuse by the male clergy, often resulting in her believing that she was the cause for all the attacks.
Major also gave a detailed account of the alleged attempted rape and attacks she’s endured during her twelve year service in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Major not only mentions names but describes the feeling of “his manhood” against her body and how she fought against him after he had entered her bedroom in the middle of the night, without her consent.
“During my divorce I was harassed and was told that it is ‘his Christian and cultural duty’ to satisfy me sexually because I am ‘used goods’. I complained and nothing came of it. This man was simply transferred to a different Diocese to serve there.”
She continued: “Another example of how unfairly women are treated in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa… a male individual developed a relationship with a female at the college. She fell pregnant and was expelled. He continued with his studies, is ordained and continues in Ministry today. He also does not contribute a single cent to the maintenance of his child.”
After serving in the Anglican Church for twelve years, Major says she requested Counsell’s blessings for a transfer to a post in Australia as the trauma she’s endured has taken a toll on her and her family. Following her requests, Major claims Counsell labelled her a “troublemaker” and further compromised her chances of obtaining a post elsewhere. Since then, Major has resigned and cannot find employment without the necessary letters in the possession of Counsell.
Sacrificing her reputation within the Anglican Church, major explained that her decision to go public with the names of the alleged- is a step towards liberating herself from ‘institutional abuse’.
“Today I decided to break the silence. When people go against the word of God whether they are clergy or not, we cannot be silent or else we’re just as guilty as they are. When some is raped or abused, I cannot be silent because clergy are not above God. I am not attacking the Church, I am addressing individuals within the church,” Major further added.
Major’s legal team has assisted her in pursuing legal avenues to see justice. As the alleged perpetrators have not been charged as yet, VOC could not disclose their identities.
Meanwhile, the Church’s attorney, Lionel Egypt told journalists that they are open to resolving matters with Major adding that “the ball is in her court”, following the meeting.
VOC (Raeesa Isaacs)