GBV activists campaign to tackle impact of failed justice system and the DNA backlog
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Cape Town - A collective of young anti-gender-based-violence activists have launched a GBV awareness campaign, set to tackle the effects of the country’s battered justice system and the ill effects of the DNA backlog.
In efforts to reach other victims and protect would-be victims, the group of young women say they launched the #MyVoiceForJustice campaign, to share their surviving experiences and raise awareness about GBV whilst advocating for more to be done and invested to eradicate the shadow pandemic.
The campaign’s founder, change advocate and activist Mbali Shongwe said the idea for the campaign was inspired by her wanting to change the narrative regarding Women’s month solely revolving on hosting commemorative events despite the country currently battling with increasing femicide cases.
22-year-old activist and founder of a non-government organisation Mindful said that she felt society was slowly shifting away from the core focus of women’s month and filtering it with frivolous events and campaigns that do little to empower and highlight social ills such as GBV ordinary women are facing every day.
She said: “We need to play a more active role in tackling the challenges associated with GBV, frivolous commemorations or meaningless statements, are not working. We need to be intentional in correcting the issues we are facing. It’s way past being a woman’s problem now, it should be everyone’s fight.
“Currently there is an estimated DNA backlog of over 300 000 cases, our government has failed to use one of the most powerful tools available to them to provide justice and closure for GBV victims,” she said adding that ending the DNA backlog and creating transparent and accountable reporting would put more gender-based violence offenders behind bars and get more survivors the justice and closure they deserve.
“DNA samples represent real lives that have been affected. They represent perpetrators that have not been taken to task and remain integrated into our society. Now and again my assailant pops up on my Instagram feed, living his best life.
“I was let down, and every day thousands of women are let down. We need to hold the government accountable, and push them to act,” said Shongwe.
22-year-old social activist Tayla Johnson said: “As a group of young women I think that our different experiences, and motives to advocate for GBV survivors are very important in tackling GBV head-on.
“As members of society, we cannot become complacent, as young women the baton has been passed down to us. It’s our turn to work to dismantle problematic social structures that take us back when it comes to GBV, we need to address the role and effects our cultures, religions, and patriarchy when it comes to GBV and how they are often used to silence the voices of GBV victims.
“We need to speak up if anything is ever going to change and push for our government to realise that they need to take action today,” said Johnson.