GBV during lockdown: South African men have declared war on women, says Ramaphosa

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(iStock)
(iStock)

President Cyril Ramaphosa is worried about the increase in gender-based violence (GBV) during the national lockdown.

Ramaphosa said incidents of GBV continue to stalk the country as men have declared war on women in South Africa.

READ | Lockdown saved thousands of lives, says Ramaphosa

"We have developed an emergency pathway for survivors to ensure that victims of GBV are assisted. One of the interventions we have made is to ensure lockdown regulations are structured in a manner that a woman can leave her home to report abuse without fear of intimidation or further violence," said Ramaphosa.

He was addressing the nation on Wednesday evening.

On Sunday, Precious Robinson, chairperson of SACSoWACH, a coalition of 33 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), said the national government's gender-based violence and femicide command centre, which runs a toll-free, 24-7 emergency call centre, recorded that more than 120 000 victims rang the national helpline for abused women and children in the first three weeks after the lockdown started - double the usual volume of calls.

Robinson said what was worrying was the attitude shown towards GBV - that it is a foregone conclusion of South African culture, and that it is not considered serious.

She believed that it should form a central consideration for allocation of resources and responses by law enforcement and social development.  

"At SACSoWACH, we believe that a key area of focus is to ensure that the lockdown regulations are structured so that a woman can be able to reach out for help, leave her home to report abuse without the fear of a fine, intimidation and further violence.

"We are also working to ensure that accessibility to services such as Thuthuzela care centres, hospitals and clinics are not compromised, and that all services are Covid-19 safe." 

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