Gogos march against rape

2012-11-20 00:00

MANY wiped away tears in Nongoma when a 61-year-old woman stood up in front of a crowd and narrated how she was raped.

This was during Saturday’s march by hundreds of elderly women to protest against the abuse of the elderly.

The march was organised by Nongoma Municipality, and it was an early launch of the annual “16 Days of Activism” which will take place next month.

The brave 61-year-old said a local man had raped and stabbed her in her home, about three months ago.

SABC 1’s Khumbulekhaya presenter Andile Gaelisiwe, herself a rape survivor, was moved to tears, too.

She was a guest speaker at the event, and she urged rape survivors to immediately seek help.

“By seeking help you will be able to move on because if you do not do so, you will be haunted by the attack for the rest of your life,” she said.

Nongoma mayor Jeremiah Mavundla urged residents to fight the scourge. He said the municipality was also considering the possibility of supplying an emergency number linked directly to the police, that women under attack could call.

One thousand whistles were handed out, with the idea that these could be used in emergencies.

“By blowing the whistle, you are alerting your neighbours about any form of attack,” said municipality spokesperson Londiwe Ngcamu.

She said campaign aimed to challenge the perpetrators of violence to change their behaviour.

The event began at the Nongoma multi-purpose centre and proceeded to KwaGqikazi sports field where children enjoyed a jumping castle while social workers interacting with community members to see if any of them needed help.

Waving banners, hundreds of gogos — supported by drilling policemen and -women, netball and soccer teams, and members of the public of all ages — marched to the sports field, with more supporters joining in as they marched along.

Ngcamu acknowledged that the increasing attacks on elders are in some cases caused by social problems within families. Grandmothers are forced to care for grandchildren, and some of these grow up to be violent, angry young men.

Unemployment was also a big cause, and the elderly are often exploited or abused for their pension money.

She said that in some wards, up to five cases of abuse were reported every month, although the number of incidents differed from ward to ward.

“We will invite all stakeholders, including the police and businesses to work together to broaden the impact of the campaign,”said Ngcamu.

After the event, the mayor declared his satisfaction with the successful campaign.

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