Cyril calls for holis­tic fight to halt abuse cri­sis

Con­certed ap­proach needed to tackle scourge in SA, he says

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KHAYA KOKO

THE gov­ern­ment has in­vited civil so­ci­ety to join it in tak­ing a tough stance against women and child abuse.

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril said yes­ter­day that a holis­tic and con­certed ap­proach be­tween the gov­ern­ment, the faith-based com­mu­nity and civic or­gan­i­sa­tions is what is needed to tackle “one of the most dev­as­tat­ing so­cial crises of our young democ­racy”.

This was the over­rid­ing theme of yes­ter­day’s launch of the Na­tional Cam­paign Against Women and Chil­dren at the Rhema Bi­ble Church in Rand­burg, where the deputy pres­i­dent gave the key­note ad­dress.

Ramaphosa said the vi­o­lence and abuse of women and chil­dren re­sem­bled an “epi­demic”.

He called for the con­fronta­tion of what he felt was the anom­aly of pa­tri­archy, which he said was a hu­man con­struc­tion am­pli­fied through so­cial cus­tom, cul­ture and pop­u­lar me­dia.

“It is im­plied in the so­cial and eco­nomic ar­range­ment of so­ci­ety, where men oc­cupy most po­si­tions of au­thor­ity and re­spon­si­bil­ity, earn more and re­ceive greater so­cial recog­ni­tion,” he said.

“There­fore, if we are to end vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren, we need to con­front pa­tri­archy in all its forms and man­i­fes­ta­tions.”

Ramaphosa is also pa­tron of the Moral Re­gen­er­a­tion Move­ment and was speak­ing at the in­vi­ta­tion of the Na­tional Re­li­gious Lead­ers Coun­cil, Rhema and civic or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Speak­ing to The Star, Rhema spokesper­son Pas­tor Giet Khoza pointed out that this cam­paign needed to be holis­tic for it to have a foot­print coun­try­wide.

Khoza said that is why dif­fer­ent faiths had joined forces with the gov­ern­ment and civil so­ci­ety to fight the scourge of abuse.

“The big­gest thing we need to do now is cre­ate aware­ness across our com­mu­ni­ties. This is be­cause some peo­ple be­lieve it is a norm for women and girls to be beaten.

“We need to cre­ate an aware­ness that it is not right – in­clud­ing the bad lan­guage we use to speak to our young boys and girls, this lan­guage must change. Se­condly, the church needs to stand up, like Mr Ramaphosa said, and be counted within the com­mu­nity,” he added.

The deputy pres­i­dent said so­ci­ety should adopt the ap­proach used to fight apartheid, where faith-based or­gan­i­sa­tions played a promi­nent role in top­pling the re­pres­sive regime.

The cam­paign is also sup­ported by the Po­lice Min­istry and will in­clude var­i­ous pro­grammes in the build-up to the an­nual 16 days of Ac­tivism in Novem­ber.

Khoza said the church will hold an event once a month lead­ing up to Novem­ber, to­gether with gov­ern­ment, to high­light the scourge of vi­o­lence against vul­ner­a­ble groups.

“Women’s Month is upon us and we will have a con­fer­ence where this scourge will also be high­lighted. And to­gether with gov­ern­ment, we are plan­ning more pro­grammes.

“We want a con­sis­tent fo­cus, so that we can sus­tain this pro­gramme,” he pointed out.

Pres­i­dency spokesper­son Ty­rone Seale said they were look­ing at a “365-day” ap­proach so as to not pay lip ser­vice to tack­ling the abuse of women and chil­dren.

Seale said they were pleased that fi­nan­cial, emo­tional and phys­i­cal sup­port will be given to vic­tims and sur­vivors of abuse by the church.

“This is an on­go­ing ef­fort to en­sure that we not only pro­vide sup­port ser­vices to women and chil­dren, but also – as em­pha­sised by the deputy pres­i­dent a num­ber of times – that we en­gage men in dis­cussing this is­sue,” Seale said.

“It is im­por­tant that th­ese cam­paigns reach all sec­tors of so­ci­ety and com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing com­mu­ni­ties of faith,” he added.

@khayakoko88

We need to con­front pa­tri­archy in all its forms

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