Planned programmes rather than publicity seeking
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.