The Star Late Edition

Proof is mainly on women to prove GBV


GENDER-based violence (GBV) has again reared its ugly head and sparked debate across platforms.

The inquest into the death of rapper AKA’s fiancée, Anele Tembe, turned to social media again after a video emerged of Tembe being restrained.

Media reports have been focusing on the relationsh­ip between the two, with claims there may have been some form of abuse going on.

While the rapper, real name Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, released a statement defending his relationsh­ip with Tembe, the debate continues online.

Actress Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa also made headlines with her own claims of GBV against her ex-husband, Black Coffee.

Black Coffee, whose real name is Nkosinathi Maphumulo, refuted the claims on social media, saying he would never assault Mlotshwa and he wanted to set the record straight in order to correct the narrative that was out on social media about his character.

He added that he remained silent about any issues in the belief that the judicial system would follow its due course. Mlotshwa had applied for a protection order against the producer, which was denied.

Advocate Tarisai Mchuchu-Macmillan, the executive director at NPO Mosaic, said legally protection orders were denied if complainan­ts did not make a prima facie case, meaning the complainan­t would not have shown there was cause of action that required the respondent to answer to at all as well as other factors. For example, the magistrate could rule that the issues raised did not justify the granting of a protection order. Mosaic is an NPO that works to prevent and reduce GBV in South Africa.

Mchuchu-Macmillan added that while the physical spaces – police stations, courts with magistrate­s, clerks and police officials – were available for women when they wanted to report GBV, the issue was that they did not always have access to justice.

“The complainan­t has the burden of proof in our justice system, so when a woman alleges (GBV), she must prove on a balance of probabilit­ies. When women come to do so, we find the burden of proof weighs heavily on women to the extent that she must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

“A man can say she is lying and just wants to take revenge and the woman must take steps to not only prove the real harm to her but is also burdened with disproving the allegation­s that the man puts across,” Mchuchu-Macmillan said, adding that the magistrate­s, police, clerks and other administra­tors of justice were people burdened with harmful cultural, societal norms and beliefs about women.

“This is often the major issue that affects women accessing justice.”

Mchuchu-Macmillan said family members of victims of GBV must understand victims of domestic violence were often too scared and traumatise­d to report domestic violence and to seek help. Including men and boys was critical to preventing GBV, she said. “We must invest time, money and programme expertise to ensure that men and boys are engaged.”

Victims of domestic violence can call Mosiac on 021 761 7585 if based in Cape Town or the national GBV Command Centre on 0800 428 428.

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