‘We’re tired of being raped, we’re tired of dying’ – despair as Stamp Out GBVF campaign is launched

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Uyinene Mrwetyana's parents, Philip and Noma, during a march to parliament to bring attention to gender-based violence. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)
Uyinene Mrwetyana's parents, Philip and Noma, during a march to parliament to bring attention to gender-based violence. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Broken promises continue to be the order of the day when it comes to government's commitment to fighting gender-based violence, many activists believe.

"We are tired. I feel like that statement is so reflective of where we are as a country and as women in this country," says Masimbulele Buso, managing director of the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation. "We are tired of dying. Tired of being raped every day and no one doing anything about it.”

The foundation and 1st for Women Insurance joined forces to pressure government to do more to combat gender-based violence, with their Stamp Out GBVF campaign.

The campaign invites women to share their experiences of violence on virtual postcards which will be sent to parliament. 

The foundation is named for Uyinene Mrwetyana, the student who was raped and killed in 2019 by Luyanda Botha at the Clareinch Post Office in Cape Town where he worked. 

“Many of the postcards come from school-going children and university students. Some of them are sharing their experience of gender-based violence and sexual assault for the first time. The postcards hold so many stories and emotions,” Buso tells YOU.

A similar campaign, called Post Office to Parliament, was held earlier this year where women were encouraged to write postcards detailing their experiences of GBV to get government to do more.

“One postcard said, 'We are tired'. Nothing else but that was said,” Buso recalls. 

In April last year President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the creation of the National Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Strategic Plan, which aims to eradicate gender-based violence by 2030. 

The council was to have been established by December this year, but the bill to formalise its creation has yet to come to parliament.

READ MORE | Two young Capetonians are using their voices to educate men about gender-based violence

“Every night I go to bed and say thank you I was not exposed to [GBVF]. I don’t think there is a female in this country who does not know a mother, sister, friend, a colleague who has been affected,” says Seugnette van Wyngaard, head of 1st for Women Insurance.

“I think that is the whole point. We are just tired, and it just does not make sense why it is taking so long. Every day we wait another woman is raped and abused.” 

“I think what is frustrating for us is that there are funds. There are people on the ground who are willing to work and go to the communities to educate and raise awareness. To protect, prevent and support but there are delays, legislation and red tape that we have to cross,” Buso says. 

gbvf, maite nkoana-mashabane
Minister in the presidency for women, youth and persons with disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane reading postcards outside parliament. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the minister in the presidency for women, youth and persons with disabilities, said in October that the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Bill 2021 will be introduced to parliament "within the current financial year. The Bill will set the legal framework for the establishment of the National Council on GBVF which will coordinate the country’s response to the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide".

Government is dragging its feet, says the foundation and the insurer.

READ MORE |'I will not abuse my spouse': Liesl Laurie-Mthombeni on the vow she and her husband made to each other

uyinene, post office
On the first anniversary of Uyinene’s death, many went to place flowers and cards in her honour at the Clareinch Post Office. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

“Between April and June 2021, police statistics show that rape increased by 72,4% and sexual offences increased by 74,1% compared to the previous reporting period. This place of limbo cannot continue,” Van Wyngaard says.  

“We will never give up. We will keep coming up with more to put the pressure on,” Buso says. 

Join the campaign – Stamp Out GBV

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