Planned pro­grammes rather than pub­lic­ity seek­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

AS WE en­gage in 16 Days of Ac­tivism Against Gen­der Vi­o­lence, it seems ap­pro­pri­ate for the SA As­so­ci­a­tion of Women Grad­u­ates to high­light the key points made at our con­fer­ence, Enough is Enough, held at the Univer­sity of Cape Town ear­lier this year.

Spe­cial events and pub­lic­ity-seek­ing par­ties aimed at draw­ing at­ten­tion to the chal­lenges faced by women have lit­tle ef­fect. Pro­grammes care­fully planned, mon­i­tored and eval­u­ated would be of more ben­e­fit.

Ser­vice or­gan­i­sa­tions for women, though vi­tal, are not suf­fi­ciently sup­ported – and es­pe­cially fi­nan­cially – by the gov­ern­ment.

The Women’s (and Chil­dren’s) Bud­get should be re­in­stated. There is a paucity of funds avail­able for the gen­der struc­tures. It is also noted that the Min­istry for Women, Chil­dren and Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties is not well funded by gov­ern­ment.

The gov­ern­ment needs to en­gen­der its key pol­icy frame­works, such as the the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan.

Ed­u­ca­tion on sex and sex­u­al­ity in schools needs to be strength­ened and ex­tended ap­pro­pri­ately to younger chil­dren.

The po­lice au­thor­i­ties and com­mu­nity polic­ing fo­rums must en­sure that the stand­ing in­struc­tions re­gard­ing rape cases are prop­erly im­ple­mented within the po­lice sta­tions.

More pre­cise sta­tis­tics need to be pro­vided to the pub­lic re­gard­ing rape.

Women and girls should be en­cour­aged to re­port cases of rape and sex­ual ha­rass­ment. They should be as­sured their rights are up­held, they must be treated prop­erly and sym­pa­thet­i­cally.

Sta­tis­tics on con­vic­tion rates for sex­ual as­sault are vi­tal.

Per­for­mance by po­lice and the prose­cu­tor in han­dling such cases needs to be mon­i­tored and eval­u­ated.

Spe­cial sex­ual of­fences courts should be ur­gently es­tab­lished.

Psy­cho-so­cial ser­vices need more fund­ing to pro­vide as­sis­tance to those in need within the com­mu­nity, and to as­sist the sur­vivors of rape and other forms of vi­o­lence.

Vul­ner­a­ble women and girls, es­pe­cially in the ru­ral ar­eas, need pro­grammes to pro­vide them with vo­ca­tional skills as well as knowl­edge of their rights as women and how they can prop­erly ex­er­cise th­ese rights.

Men, women, boys and girls should be pro­vided with more hu­man rights train­ing. Chil­dren should be pro­vided with more cop­ing skills train­ing.

The in­flu­ence of all role play­ers (in­clud­ing the me­dia) should be recog­nised in the de­vel­op­ment of girls’ self­es­teem and in their ca­reer choices. Pos­i­tive im­ages should be avail­able.

Within higher ed­u­ca­tion and other work­places, struc­tural and ide­o­log­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion is es­sen­tial to make the work­place less male-dom­i­nated and more sup­port­ive of women. This would also en­sure that the work­place of­fers an en­vi­ron­ment where a bet­ter bal­ance be­tween work and fam­ily can be ob­tained – for men and women.

Non-sex­ist lan­guage must be the norm in text­books and teach­ing sit­u­a­tions and in gen­eral com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

An at­ti­tude of pa­tri­archy must be iden­ti­fied and recog­nised as not be­ing ac­cept­able.

To en­sure the cri­sis over vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren is given on­go­ing at­ten­tion through­out the year and by all rel­e­vant role­play­ers there is an ur­gent need to re­sus­ci­tate an ac­tive South African women’s move­ment.

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