Women and children say ‘enough is enough’ during a programme to spread awareness on gender-based violence and child abuse. Supplied
Cape Town - The One Billion Rising South Africa campaign has embarked on a 21-day gender-based violence (GBV) and child protection outreach programme that will see all forms of abuse coming under the spotlight in the rural community of Caledon, while trying to find solutions.

Spearheaded by the campaign co-ordinator Lucinda Evans, the organisation advocates against gender-based violence and femicide; it resists misogyny and patriarchy; and it unites the voices of women in South Africa.

Evans said GBV was rife and normalised in this rural area, and it was often not reported, but instead hidden.

“Rural areas in South Africa and in the Western Cape don’t have access to the same services as, for instance, a Thuthuzela Care Centre.

“Front-line police officers are not all trained to deal with trauma survivors, and particularly gay or transgender people. Communities hide domestic violence because of severe poverty and the few job opportunities, while survivors are labelled ‘troublemakers’.”

Evans said during the 21 days they would collaborate with community leaders, police, the Community Police Forum and social development to put plans in place to give a voice to the voiceless.

“The 21 days are for all stakeholders in the district of Theewaterskloof to collaborate in a process to place emphasis on not only service excellence, but access to all resources when experiencing GBV,” she said.

“This speaks to questions of where does one go when they have been raped? Are there safe spaces created for survivors? Is the first person a survivor contacts creating a feeling of safety for that person? Are interdicts enforced?”

Evans said they were also concerned that the LGBTQQIAAP+ community were not free to access services or walk freely and openly in rural areas like Caledon and the surroundings areas.

“Homo- and transphobia must be dismantled. We demand safe spaces and access to all support services for anyone on the LGBTQQIAAP+ spectrum. This is all about bringing community members together and walking in partnership with one another to create safer spaces for all,” she said.

@Mtuzeli

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Cape Argus