GBV: Prioritise efforts for justice, says gender justice advocate
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CAPE TOWN, March 22 (ANA) - The silencing of gender-based violence (GBV) victims needs to be contested, gender justice advocate Gugu Nonjinge said.
Nonjinge, 27, grew up in Mount Frere, a small town in the Eastern Cape. She is the senior advocacy officer at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR).
From a tender age, she has always been determined to stand up for, and empower women.
In high school, she tutored science and mathematics to her peers and girls in lower grades.
"In 2014, a year after I had lost my mother, I took it upon myself to extend my efforts to mentor young women and girls," Nonjinge told the African News Agency (ANA).
"I searched for organisations that were doing such work and as a result, I joined the Dream Girls Academy as a mentor and executive member.”
She said the violation of women’s human rights in the form of rape, femicide, and domestic violence continued to surge because society was still rooted in patriarchal values where women were marginalised.
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2013 statistics, 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.
"We need to start by prioritising efforts for justice, and hold perpetrators accountable," said Nonjinge.
Nonjinge acknowledged that South Africa had some of the most progressive laws and policies to deal with gender justice, however, it still faced a gender crisis of extraordinary proportions.
The limited time-frame of the "16 Days of Activism" campaign blinded other people from fully unpacking the issues at hand, she said.
The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign (16 Days Campaign) is a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November to 10 December.
She said the objective of the campaign was never to be challenged, however, we must do away with surface-level engagements and be intentional about how to address and combat GBV.
"The need for us to effectively and deliberately address the pervasiveness of sexual violence is urgent," said Nonjinge.
"Going forward our society must collaborate in creating cultures and norms that are intolerant of gendered violence.”
Based on WHO’s 2016 data, South Africa’s femicide rate was 12.1 women per 100,000 women – almost five times higher than the global average of 2.6 women per 100,000 women.
Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported that 138 women per 100,000 women were raped in the previous year – the highest rate in the world.
"Gender-based violence is an affront to our shared humanity as South Africans," President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a 2018 GBV keynote address.
He said that the government's objective was to bring the numbers down to zero.
"We must aim for a femicide rate of zero per 100,000. We want to reach a point where no woman, no child, no man has to experience violence," said Ramaphosa.
African News Agency