End­ing the epi­demic of women abuse

Public Sector Manager - - Message From -

“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

safely out­side.”

Na­tional di­a­logues

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.

Pres­i­dent

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

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