Durban - Women’s Month should not be celebrated due to the country’s astronomical gender-based violence numbers, self-proclaimed career crime fighter and director of community at Action Society, Ian Cameron, said.
“The country’s criminal justice system fails miserably in supporting victims of gender-based violence and femicide. As a result, there is no cause to celebrate,” said Action Society.
In co-operation with Philisa Abafazi Bethu, a Cape Town-based organisation that advocates for the rights of women who are victims of domestic and intimate partner violence, survivors were given a chance to speak.
Lucinda Evans, the founder of the advocacy group, said that nothing has changed for women from the 1956 struggle to 2022. It is worse to be a woman in South Africa now.
Janelle Laattoe, who had not opened up about her story with GBV (gender-based violence) since 2018, said yesterday, it was her turn to tell it, unlike the many women who never got the chance.
Laattoe said the justice system repeatedly failed her.
“I had to endure postponed court appearances for over a year, my abuser walked free, assaulted three other women and now my docket disappeared. But I am speaking up, and this is not how my story will end,” she said.
Laattoe said she made a case against her abusive boyfriend in 2019. He was arrested and made several court appearances over the following year and a half, but the case was withdrawn in December.
At her wits’ end, she contacted Action Society to assist her with the matter. The organisation took on her case and called the Delft police station many times and paid the premises visits, after which it was found Laattoe's docket had vanished.
Cameron said the system is failing women and children. “We understand that the SAPS members work under tremendous workloads with minimal or lacking resources. It is a dire situation.
“We look to the minister of police, the entire criminal justice system, to admit their failure and to start taking effective action to prevent the severe onslaught against women and children. No more acting for TV cameras and showing up to win votes. We need accountability,” he said.