During this lockdown period, many females fear the people they are living with while confined to their homes. GBV, domestic violence and child abuse were expected to increase during these stressful times as victims and perpetrators cannot leave their houses and may have nowhere else to go.
Minister in the presidency for women, youth and persons with disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has called on men to stand up against GBV.
“I am calling for immediate action against perpetrators of GBV. Men must stand up against GBV by saying violence against women and girls is unacceptable!” she tweeted.
“In South Africa, too many women and children are worrying about how to endure or escape the violence and abuse in their homes. They may be terrified of the virus but more terrified of spending time with their abuser,” says Pam Qavile, technical lead for Beyond Zero’s adolescent girls and young women’s programme.
She says females who find themselves in abusive homes, more especially during lockdown, ought to think about who they can reach out to should they be harmed.
She advises that they create a codeword with that person that will indicate they’re in distress. This codeword will prompt the other person to call for help on their behalf.
“Despite alcohol, which fuels GBV, not being available for purchase in shops, we know that people are creative and will likely acquire their substances of choice ensuring ongoing danger for the people in the same home,” she says.
Women and children who are under threat of GBV are advised to contact the gender-based violence command centre – which operates nationally, 24 hours a day, every day – on 0800-428-428 or send a please call me to *120*7867#. There is also a Skype line, Helpme GBV, for the deaf community.
The department also announced that Thuthuzela Care Centres will remain open around the country.
Programmes specifically for adolescent girls and young women are active throughout the country. Here’s a list:
- Mthatha, Eastern Cape, delivered by socialchangesa.co.za
- Port Elizabeth, delivered by mietafrica.com
- Free State, delivered by IHPS