A non-violent way forward

2014-11-27 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg SAPS Cluster Office have announced their support for the 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Children Abuse campaign which kicked off yesterday, 25 November and will end on 10 December.

In 2012, the World Health Organization announced that South Africa has the highest rate of domestic violence against women and children. Yet in the same vein, South Africa is the highest ranked country in the African continent when it comes to gender and development.

In addition to this, the country has a powerful instrument in the form of its Constitution, where rights of victims of violence are ensured and upheld.

“Our Constitution entrenches a number of rights that are directly relevant to the context of gender-based violence,” said Brigadier Francis Bantham, acting cluster commander in Pietermaritzburg.

Among these is the right to freedom from violence which states: “every person has the right to freedom from all forms of violence from either public or private sources”. The Constitution highlights the duty to protect people from all forms of violence, both public or private. This is to ensure that victims are protected whether they are in relationships, which is most common.

Although significant legislative reforms and developmental policies and programmes have been adopted by South Africa, violence against women and children continues to be widespread, and the majority of these victims get younger and younger every year.

This year, the theme for the campaign is ‘Count Me In: together we move a non-violent South Africa forward’.

“We have realized as the South African Police that the past 16 years we have been observing this campaign but not everybody was in, or counted in. For many years, it was women who were in the forefront, campaigning against this crime. To this end, to count everybody in means to question ourselves as to who we must protect and how that protection must be provided.

“The human security we are talking about refers to a holistic view of human security that includes the redress of structural and traditional inequalities,” said Bantham.

A change to the traditional ways boys and men are socialized in society is needed. Women and girls should no longer be viewed as subservient, and the perpetuation of male power and control must be stopped and the gender myth broken.

“The South African Police calls on every citizen to join in and make this year’s 16 days of Activism campaign a great success. We must stand united in the fight against crime,” said Bantham.

She added that every police station within the cluster will be engaging in various programmes and projects and the community is encouraged to call their local police stations and join them as they implement it in the community.

The campaign began yesterday at the Tatham Sports Ground near Jika Joe informal settlement with a joint stand with the SAP Pietermaritzburg Social Crime Prevention in and various departments in KwaZulu-Natal.

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