Take a stand against women abuse

Public Sector Manager - - MESSAGE FROM THE MINISTER -

Women abuse con­tin­ues to take a heavy toll on South African so­ci­ety. Every day, thou­sands of hard­work­ing moth­ers, wives and in­no­cent girls suf­fer silently at the hands of their phys­i­cally stronger abusers. It should not be this way.

The 20 000 coura­geous women who marched to the Union Build­ings on 9 Au­gust 1956 re­mind us that women do in­deed have the power to stand up to in­jus­tice and im­ple­ment change.They stood up to deeply in­sti­tu­tion­alised racism and dis­crim­i­na­tion, and forced the for­mi­da­ble apartheid govern­ment to pay at­ten­tion to their voices.

Although women abuse is not a govern­ment-driven in­jus­tice like apartheid, the prob­lem has, sadly, be­come deeply rooted in our so­ci­ety.

With hun­dreds of anti-abuse cam­paigns tak­ing place every year – driven by govern­ment, non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions and the pri­vate sec­tor – there is no doubt that aware­ness of women abuse is wide­spread. But the is­sue needs to be tack­led at ground level.This is where re­la­tions in the home need to change. We still live in a so­ci­ety where many men be­lieve that they have the right to ex­ert power over women. It stands to rea­son, then, that men have a cru­cial role to play in tak­ing a stand against women abuse.

It was there­fore heart-warm­ing to see hun­dreds of men tak­ing to the streets of Pre­to­ria on

10 July, in sup­port of govern­ment’s #100MenMarch cam­paign. Re­spond­ing to Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s “Thuma Mina” call to ac­tion, these men demon­strated that they are will­ing to pro­tect and sup­port the vic­tims of vi­o­lence and abuse. We are hope­ful that, dur­ing Women’s Month, this im­por­tant mes­sage will spread to men across the coun­try, and kick­start real changes in the home and com­mu­nity.

As govern­ment, we are urg­ing all South Africans to take the fol­low­ing pledge to end this scourge:

Change be­gins with me, and I can mo­ti­vate oth­ers to end vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren.

I pledge to help break the cul­ture of si­lence that ac­com­pa­nies vi­o­lence and abuse.

I pledge not to com­mit vi­o­lence and to act when I see vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren.

I pledge to teach those in my care the val­ues of hu­man dig­nity, equal­ity and re­spect.

Mean­while, women have to be brave enough to re­port in­stances of abuse and find safety from abu­sive re­la­tion­ships. We have more sup­port sys­tems in place for this than ever be­fore, in the form of shel­ters, vic­tim-friendly rooms at po­lice sta­tions and 24-hour helplines.

Stud­ies have proven that these in­ter­ven­tions have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the lives of women seek­ing re­prieve from do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

We want the women of South Africa to know that they have safe spa­ces to which they can turn, as well as car­ing peo­ple who are wait­ing to help.

Like the women of 1956, don’t let your­self be tram­pled by in­jus­tice – re­alise that you have the power to change your life for the bet­ter.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­terNomvula Mokonyane.

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