16 Days of Activism – Investments to Combat Gender-Based Violence

By Sinazo Mkoko

“Accelerating actions to end gender-based violence and femicide: leaving no one behind” -This is the theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign in South Africa. More than R7-million per year is invested by the Spar Group to assist victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) through partnerships with the LifeLine organisation and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa.

In addition to this, the group spends R1.5-million a year in collaboration with TruLife, an NGO that works with the next generation to educate, motivate, and empower them to make courageous decisions that lead to brighter futures. In a statement released, Spar Group manager of socio-economic development, Kathryn Baxter, stated that “another sizeable investment is due to be announced in the coming months as we undertake two major projects in our fight against GBV—a rural GBV reporting and support centre and haven for abused women in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the provision of a DNA laboratory in the province.”

Kathryn added that in a country where 52 000 cases of violence against women are reported each year, with intimate partners responsible for slightly more than half of all femicides, the national conviction rate for GBV assaults is a pitiful 3%. “This number is horrendous. and the situation calls for immediate action. it is crucial that facilities are established in underserviced rural areas where women lack support systems.”

Launch of 16 days of Activism For No Violence Against Women and Children

Speaking at the launch of 16 Days of activism for no Violence against Women and Children in Nsikazi Stadium, Ehlanzeni, Mpumalanga, Deputy President Paul Mashatile said this year’s theme is a call to action to raise awareness about the devastating impact that Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) have on women, children, and the entire social fabric.

He added that they aim to highlight gender-based violence as a pervasive human rights violation, intensify awareness-raising and advocacy, and champion prevention efforts to eliminate the scourge by implementing social behaviour change initiatives. Hon. Mashatile stated that the commitment to ending the scourge of GBVF remains a priority. “We will not rest until our communities are safe for all, especially women and girls,” he said. “We aim to raise awareness about the devastating impact that GBVF has on women and children and the social fabric of our society.”

“This is also an opportunity for all of us to renew our commitment to reclaiming our streets and creating a society where women and children are safe and secure.” Hon. Mashatile He called on the traditional leaders to intensify their role as community leaders against unfair inheritance practices and GBVF. Hon. Mashatile added that gender-based violence and femicide are not isolated occurrences; they are systemic problems that are strongly founded in patriarchal norms and gender inequity. “It is important to acknowledge that GBV is a global phenomenon rooted in the fabric of every society, every culture, and every community, regardless of class, race, or socio-economic status,” he said.

He urged South africans at large to recommit themselves to ending violence against women and children. “We have the ability to shape a future in which women and children are safe and their rights are respected.” On progress and the government’s initiatives to combat this scourge in our society, Hon. Mashatile said they have recently passed six pieces of legislation related to Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, and the ongoing implementation costing exercise underscores the commitment to ending GBVF.

“One significant milestone is the recent assent of President Cyril Ramaphosa to crucial legislative reforms, which are:

  • The Criminal Law (Sexual offences and Related Matters) amendment act amendment Bill
  • The Criminal and Related Matters amendment Bill
  • The Domestic Violence amendment Bill.”

To fight the pandemic, the government has also developed and trained Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) at the provincial and municipal levels. “This includes the development of the Comprehensive national Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Prevention and the integrated Femicide Strategic Frameworks, which signal a holistic approach to turning the gender-based violence tide,” he said.

He urged men in communities to be role models for young boys. “Remember, boys are born, and men are made. as men, we can help develop men in our society who respect women. Men who do not see women as objects. Men who recognise the equality of women” —Hon. Paul Mashatile.

Sources : Spar | SaGov | MediaUpdate

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