‘Everyone must help stop sexual violence’

2008-11-23 00:00

The prevention of sexual violence perpetrated against women is being highlighted by the Gender Based Violence (GBV) Prevention Network during the campaign for 16 days of activism, which starts tomorrow.

Sexual violence is emphasised because, according to the Family and Marriage Association of South Africa (Famsa), it limits women’s power over their bodies. Famsa stressed that sexual violence does not only refer to rape, but also to forced and early marriages, forced abortions and denial of the right to use contraceptives.

Famsa urges everyone to use their strength to prevent sexual violence in their communities. “We recognise prevention as the most important step towards tackling issues of violence against women. This necessitates initiatives at community level that are geared towards changing social norms and behaviours that promote violence against women,” said Sandra Mosago of the Coalition of Violence Against Women (COVAW).

A World Health Organisation study has showed that sexual violence is on the rise. Famsa Pietermaritzburg has confirmed that figures of abused women seeking help has steadily grown over the years. It conducted 401 interviews with domestic violence victims between April and September 2008. Famsa Pietermaritzburg also participated in an awareness day on sexual violence at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in an effort to address sexual violence at tertiary education level.

Famsa says that sexual violence has been proven to increase the risk of HIV/Aids and unwanted pregnancies.

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