Plan of action for campaign against woman and child abuse
RELIGIOUS and government leaders are preparing for the launch of a national campaign of violence against women and children, timed to coincide with Women’s Month that is fast approaching.
At a media briefing in Fourways, the National Religious Leaders Council initiated the campaign with the Rhema Family Churches International Federation of Christian Churches, civil society groups Save SA and Section27, and the Ministry of Women made a public pledge for the cause yesterday.
Delegates discussed how the attacks on women and children in recent months had raised concern on how society reacted to the abuse.
This followed the death of Karabo Mokoena, 3-year-old Courtney Pieters and Thembisile Yende, who were all murdered by men.
Rev Ray McCauley said the murder of Mokoena was a great shock and had left the country outraged.
“We also know that it’s not only Karabo… There are a lot of women and children in the rural areas and townships who do not get any media coverage, but are suffering,” he added.
“The reality is that genderbased violence is a crime of power, one that seeks to uphold patriarchal laws and control the female body in the framework of historical unequal powers,” he said.
McCauley quoted from a Statistics SA 2016 survey that one in every five South African women over 18 had experienced physical violence, while one in every three young South Africans had experienced some form of sexual abuse.
According to McCauley, the plan of action for the national campaign was for all South Africans to stand up against violence against women and children.
“The launch of the campaign is strategically planned for the week preceding Women’s Month, as we thought it fitting not only to honour women, but also to stand up against their abuse,” said McCauley.
Among the delegates were the Minister of Women in the Presidency Susan Shabangu and Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza.
Shabangu said the government fully supported the campaign.
“It is a pleasure today that we can sit here together with the church to make a commitment to fight crimes against women and children.
“This takes us a step further towards ensuring that the socialisation in our families, schools, friends and especially the media becomes a critical role in transforming our society,” said Shabangu.
Renowned businesswoman Basetsana Kumalo also expressed shock at the levels of attacks on the vulnerable.
“The atrocities and violations of our women and children have to end. When the headlines have stopped we seem to forget about a Karabo and many other women and children,” said Kumalo.
Religious leaders and influential members of civil society pledged their support for the campaign to stop violence against women and children.
Mark Heywood, executive director of Section27, HIV activist and radio personality Criselda Dudumashe, Gender Equality Commission representative Javu Baloyi and Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein of the Union of Orthodox Synagogues all pledged their support for the campaign.
The official launch takes place at the Rhema Bible Church North on Sunday.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Premier David Makhura will present keynote addresses at both services.
‘Gender-based violence is a crime of power’