SJC campaign focusing on lack of policing to fight gender-based violence
Cape Town - The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) today launch its Gender Justice and Policing in Informal Settlements campaign targeted at women and children in vulnerable communities.
The campaign seeks to give an inside view of how structural violence plays out in the lives of women, children and members of the LGBTQI+ communities in informal settlements.
SJC spokesperson Noma Masemula said the campaign will highlight how a lacklustre policing system contributes to the violence experienced by poor black people.
“The issues highlighted in the programme ring true to most informal settlements in the country. Our research work stems from all of those collective experiences. During the programme events, we had the participation of over 22 communities in Cape Town and as the programme narrows down, we will have a few communities we work with mainly in Greenpoint and Qandu-Qandu and various other communities,” she said.
Masemola said women in informal settlements faced danger in and outside their homes, with nowhere to run to.
“The horrific aspect about their story is that they end up in an environment that is the perfect breeding ground for perpetrators outside of the home. Informal settlements, structurally, are violent, not only in the physical set up of the settlement but also in the cultural, social and circumstantial set-up,” she said
She said the content, manner and the distribution of information regarding gender-based violence showed a huge amount of indifference towards the issue.
The Great People of South Africa chairperson Zintle Khobeni said for centuries women have been faced with various forms of violence that are often perpetuated by gender inequality.
“In South Africa, the legacy of the apartheid exacerbated gender disparities and general inequality. As a result of this inhuman legacy, black/coloured and the Khoisan, including refugee women, find themselves trapped in inhuman living conditions, with little to no access to basic services. Their human rights are violated daily,” she said.
Khobeni said it was an “open secret” that the criminal justice system, particularly the police, were failing women in vulnerable communities.
“Many women do not report crimes of violence and abuse because the police often respond that they cannot go inside informal settlements because they are afraid to get robbed of their guns, which leaves us with a question of, if the police who are trained and get paid but do not go inside these communities, who exactly is supposed to protect the citizens?” she asked.