16 Days of Activism again, yet statistics are on a rapid rise

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Illustration. Photo by Getty Images.
Illustration. Photo by Getty Images.

  • This year's theme for the 16-day campaign is "moving from awareness to accountability."
  • In the last quarter, 897 women and 287 children were murdered, compared to 218 in the same quarter the previous year.
  • Policymakers are pressured to ensure accountability and implementation of the National Council on GBVF (Gender-based violence and femicide) to prevent lip service.

Listening to the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children campaign rhetoric can be frustrating, especially as year on year there is no real change in how women and children are treated in this country. 

Days ago, the ministry of police released horrendous crime statistics in the last quarter 897 women were murdered, 64 more than in the same quarter from the previous year - an increase of 7.7%. And 287 children were murdered, compared to 218 in the same quarter last year, an increase of 31.7%.

Sexual offence cases increased by 4.7%, with 9 556 rapes between July and September, up 7.1% from the previous year's second quarter's 8 922.

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"Whether we want to admit it or not, domestic abuse, gender based violence and harassment (GBVH) happens daily in our homes, our communities, and our businesses. Covid has spotlighted this pandemic again due to the ongoing spike in divorce and GBVH stats globally because of ongoing lockdown restrictions.

"We can no longer ignore this silent, often violent killer and the destruction it causes to people, families, and communities," says relationship expert Paula Quinsee. 

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This year's theme for 16 Days of Activism is "moving from awareness to accountability."

Therefore, the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation and 1st for Women have partnered to hold government accountable for its promise of establishing a National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) and eradicating GBVF by 2030.

A R21 billion plan to eradicate Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) by 2030 was approved. In addition, a National Council on GBVF - to oversee the implementation of this plan - was to be formulated within six months.

The partnership aims to pressure policymakers to ensure accountability and implementation of the National Council on GBVF to prevent lip service.

Following a total shutdown and mass outcry demanding justice and action, the foundation states that, in March 2020, South African women heard promises that they 'wouldn't be next.'

"20 months later, we're still waiting," says Masimbulele Buso, Managing Director of The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation. 

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"In August 2021, we took to the streets with a Post Office to Parliament campaign to address the stagnation of focus on GBVF in South Africa. The Minister of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, heard us and pledged that the National Council on GBVF would be in place by the end of December 2021. She agreed that more should have been done and that women had had enough of being 'slaughtered like goats,'" Buso says.

This is a scourge that has many layers. Paula says GBVH is often associated with physical violence or rape and the impact on victims of these traumatic experiences. Very seldom are the other forms of abuse spoken about, namely: psychological, emotional, financial, and verbal abuse.

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"If we want to eradicate GBVH, then we need to address GBVH across the spectrum – men, women, LGBTQI. If we want to eradicate GBVH, we need to address both victims and perpetrators equally because we do not have one without another. If there were no perpetrators, there would be no victims," Buso says, adding that it all needs to start in homes and with how we conduct ourselves in our relationships and raise our boy and girl children.

Paula agrees that this is where our first exposure of being in a relationship is established and the relationships of our primary caregivers or parents.

 "Abuse is a learned behaviour, it is a choice to abuse. The behaviour can be changed if the abuser is willing to take responsibility for their behaviour and make sustainable changes through rehabilitation and healing," Paula says.

How effective do you think the 16 Days of Activism campaign is? Tell us here.

Additional sources: iheart PR on behalf of 1st for Women and Ati2ud Communications on behalf of Paula Quinsee

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