Gender-based Violence: Enough is enough!

13th November 2020

UKZN Extended Learning

– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

South Africa is currently facing two pandemics at the moment, which are COVID-19 as well as the violence against women and children. Gender-based violence has been an ongoing issue in this country however the ‘lockdown’ has caused a scourge in cases being reported. Between level three and level five, when restrictions were tighter, victims were confined to their homes and close to the perpetrators thus making accessibility to torment them much easier. The lack of support for victims was brought to light especially during the first week of level five, this was evident in their cries to the media for intervention. According to Africa Check in 2019/2020(until March 31st 2020), a total of 2695 women were murdered in South Africa and it is estimated that a woman is murdered every 3 hours. The police also recorded 53 293 reported sexual offence cases, most of these cases being rape and 116 cases were reported each day.

Movements like #SayHerName, #MeToo, and #KeepTheEnergy further highlight the need for campaigns such as 16 Days of Activism. The campaign officially starts on the 25th of November 2020 and ends on the 10th of December 2020; however, we must keep the same energy all year round. The purpose of this campaign is to suppress the notion carried by bigots and misogynists that women and children are second class citizens. They share the same fundamental human rights and deserve to be treated with common decency as well as respect. Gender-based violence in any manner perpetuated is a violent attack on one’s dignity as well as their self-worth, and individuals that partake in this behavior should be stopped. A nation is only as strong as its people, and we must stand together to safeguard our society against the cycle of abuse.

Here is how you can play your part in breaking the cycle of abuse:

  • Be an activist in your homes and community
  • Challenge cultures and practices that perpetuate gender inequalities and condone the abuse of women and children at personal and societal level
  • Do not protect abusers, report them
  • Be empathetic and supportive to victims by sharing helpful information and places of refuge near you
  • Organise targeted community outreach and dialogues on solutions towards an equal society
  • Engage actively with men and boys in the discourse about combating violence in our homes, our communities and in the workplace

You can also phone the following organisations to report abuse:

  • Stop Gender Violence helpline: 0800 150 150
  • Report neglect or abuse of a child: 0861 4 CHILD (24453)
  • SAPS: 08600 10111
  • Childline:  08000 55 555
  • Gender Based Violence Command Centre: 0800 428 428
  • Lifeline 24-hour crisis helpline: 021 461 1111

If you are a witness and are afraid for your safety, you can apply for witness protection. Contact the Witness Protection Unit at the National Prosecuting Authority on 012 845 6000.

“We realise the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” – Malala Yousafzai