Politics / 9 December 2019, 09:17am / Staff reporter
This year the focus of Independent Media's annual #dontlookaway campaign during the 16 days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is #talk2yourboys. The goal is to focus on the male youth, educate and teach boys to become better men and in so doing, break the cycle of gender-based violence. Today we are talking to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Dear Mr President, you promised...
Proper care, support and healing for victims of gender-based violence; dedicated preventative interventions; more economic opportunities for women; strengthening of the criminal justice system; enhancement of the legal and policy framework. You need to “keep the promise” you made to the nation after the murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana. You promised...
To maximise every resource of the state to make our schools, the police service, the justice system and social development programmes more powerful in the fight against toxic masculinity and GBV.
To strengthen the emergency teams that bring together the police, social development, health, justice and education to provide rapid responses to all forms of violence against women.
To improve access to justice for victims, and campaign for harsher bail conditions and sentencing for perpetrators in all crimes against women and children; and for the state to oppose bail and parole for perpetrators of rape and murder against women and children.
To implement a national multi-faceted plan to prevent gender-based violence through community initiatives and workplace policies.
To introduce a tracking mechanism to clear backlogs at forensic laboratories on gender-based violence cases.
Increased efficiencies and empowerment of GBV emergency call centres which deal with GBV as well as complaints against the police and legal officers.
To prioritise the needs and interests of survivors by reviewing laws on domestic violence and sexual offences.
To open 10 new, dedicated Sexual Offences Courts to the 92 that are in place to improve conviction rates.
To provide comprehensive and appropriate support services to ensure survivors of sexual offences are not subjected to further trauma.
To overhaul the national register of gender-based violence offenders to ensure it is effective in combating gender-based violence, and to push to make the register public.
Re-open all gender-based violence cases that have been closed or that were not properly investigated.
To increase and reconfigure rehabilitation programmes in prisons to reduce the number of repeat offenders.
Address the backlog of court cases, the delays in DNA testing and the availability of rape test kits in our police stations.
Open three more Thuthuzela Care Centres for victims by the first week of December.
Mr President, you said “enough is enough”, you declared “thuma mina”.
It’s an emergency, Mr President
In your Inauguration speech after becoming South Africa’s fourth democratically elected president, you promised to protect the women of South Africa; you promised to protect the victims of rape and domestic abuse. Yet, every day domestic violence is on the increase, rapists are roaming the streets seemingly unhindered and women of all colours and ages are afraid.
We need you to act now more than ever, Mr President, because this is an emergency!
The latest crime statistics released by the South African Police Service in Parliament revealed a slight decrease in the number of women killed, and a spike in the number of children murdered. It brings little comfort to South Africans after yet another spate of brutal murders made headlines in recent weeks, sparking mass protests across South Africa. Seven women killed everyday in the Republic is an alarming figure.
I don’t doubt you have seen these statistics Mr President, I think you will acknowledge that this is an emergency!
Gender-based violence is a direct violation of women’s human rights and a major barrier to social and economic development. We have observed the government’s 9-point plan, but while we wait (no longer patiently) on the National Development Plans - at schools and taxi ranks, universities, restaurants and the post office, women are being beaten, raped and murdered. From infants to pensioners, South African women and girls are
under siege. You promised to strengthen the police to protect women and children. You promised greater intervention by the Department of Women and Children, Social Development and the Department of Health. We have seen your efforts, but it is not enough.
You need to take seriously the following issues: that our people have not healed from the trauma and violence of our past; that our laws and law enforcement systems favour men over women; and that our boys are raised in the oppressive shadow of toxic masculinity where women are their subjects and where women’s bodies belong to men.
Last month, you, Mr President said that violence against women was both a shame on South Africa and a betrayal of African values.
When you launched the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children in Lephalale in Limpopo you said that “this crisis of violence against women and children is a great shame on our nation”. You said it goes against our African values and everything we stand for as a people. You said we grew up being taught that as men and boys we must respect women and protect children, and we were taught to never raise a hand to a woman. But it continues to happen.
Because this is an emergency!
Thousands of women and children across our country have been brutalised by gender-based violence and their plea is that you work with civil society to find practical and lasting solutions that actually lead to changed attitudes and behaviours, and a society free of violence against women and children.
Mr President, today we take you up on your word. We ask you to fulfil your promise. You have asked us to send you. We are sending you to protect our women and children. This is an emergency Mr President. Please act now. #dontlookaway #talk2yourboys.
* GET INVOLVED! Take one of our pledges and send your video via Whatsapp to 074 557 3535 or join the conversation on social media using using the hashtags #DontLookAway and #talk2yourboys.