Ending the epidemic of women abuse
“For every woman and girl violently attacked, we reduce our humanity,” Nelson Mandela wrote in Long Walk to Freedom. “For every moment we remain silent, we conspire against our women.”
Mandela reminds us this month that women are the cornerstone of our society. Why are so many still raped, burnt, mutilated, killed, beaten and shamed?
Just recently we heard of the shocking murders of Hannah Cornelius of Stellenbosch, Karabo Mokoena of Soweto and Courtney Peters of Elsies River. They are among the hundreds of women and girls brutalised and murdered every year in South Africa.
A survey by Statistics SA revealed that one in five women over 18 in our country has experienced physical abuse by their partner. One woman is killed every eight hours by a partner or former partner, according to the SA Medical Research Council.
What is wrong with our society, that this continues? Why are our men and boys so violent?
A number of men have rallied behind the call to end violence against women, some through the #Not In My Name group, but we need more men to speak out against this epidemic that is destroying the social fabric of our society.
A priority crime
It also calls for a smarter plan to tackle the scourge.The National Development Plan aims to create a society where women can walk freely in the streets and children can play safely outside. We as government have declared violence against women to be a priority crime.
We have enacted laws such as the Domestic Violence Act of 1998, the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2007 and the Protection from Harassment Act of 2011. But women in South Africa remain vulnerable to abuse and violence.
To address this the government is reviewing the Integrated Plan of Action that was conceptualised to fight gender-based violence.
The 2013-18 iteration of the plan aims to transform attitudes, practices and behaviours. It aims to ensure better access to support services for women and children at risk and provide long-term care, support and empowerment services for survivors of gender-based violence.
As part of a broader campaign to empower adolescent girls and young women, the “She Conquers” campaign works to reduce new
HIV infections, teenage pregnancy, school dropout rates, and sexual and genderbased violence.
“The National Development Plan aims to create a society where women can walk freely in the streets and children can play
The Department of Women has been engaging at various levels, through national dialogues, with communities on how to address the scourge of violence against women.
Jacob Zuma in November last year launched the National
Dialogues in Limpopo.The dialogues are a mode of engagement with the victims and perpetrators of violence against women.The department plans to roll out dialogues to other provinces.
As South Africans we must ask ourselves: What is this hurt that is driving us to such shameful acts?
When you strike a woman you strike the rock. Every time we lose a woman or a child to violence, we are destroying our future.
Minister of Communications Ayanda Dlodlo