Confronting the Stigma of Naming Jesus as a Victim of Sexual Violence
Pastor Skosana’s sermon in 2010 in the township of Khayelitsha outside Stellenbosch on the theme that ‘Jesus was HIV-positive’ attracted worldwide attention. Part 1 of the chapter discusses the controversy around the sermon and Skosana’s reasons for making this metaphorical identification of Jesus with HIV/AIDS. Part 2 explores the Tearfund report ‘Breaking the Silence’ (2013) on sexual violence and the churches in South Africa. Part 3 discusses the untapped potential in the church to address sexual violence and the need for a theology which supports this as a priority. Part 4 argues that the stripping, mocking, and crucifixion of Jesus should be identified as sexual violence, and this could offer a powerful theological resource for the churches. Part 5 discusses why, for many church people, naming Jesus as a victim of sexual violence can seem shocking or strange. The stigma commonly associated with sexual violence can even make this seem offensive or blasphemous. The chapter concludes that Pastor's Skosana's sermon suggests how churches could use these negative responses for a positive purpose. Negative reactions to Jesus as a victim of sexual violence can help to reveal the stigma towards victims. This stigma is common in church and society, but because it is frequently denied, it is rarely confronted.
Editor: Pearson, Clive
Publisher: Stellenbosch, South Africa: SUNMeDia
Keywords: Jesus; crucifixion; theology; South Africa; Church; HIV/AIDS; Pastor Skosana
Research Type: Chapter in Book
This chapter is a revised and expanded version of the conference paper “Naming Jesus as a victim of sexual violence: The role of the churches in confronting the stigma of sexual abuse” at the Global Network in Public Theology Triennial Conference, on Democracy and Social Justice in Glocal Contexts, at University of Stellenbosch (24-26 October 2016).