Many women had lived through multiple incidents of sexual harassment and had had to pick up the pieces of their lives after sexual assault. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Many women had lived through multiple incidents of sexual harassment and had had to pick up the pieces of their lives after sexual assault. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Women deserve more than lip service this Women’s Day

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Aug 9, 2020

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CAPE TOWN, August 9 (ANA) - The Democratic Alliance has demanded implementation of the decisions taken at the national summit on gender-based violence (GBV) almost two years ago.

"It’s that time of year again where South African women will be inundated with messages of how strong we are. We will be told how we are revered, treasured, beloved ... 'you strike a woman, you strike a rock' will surely be quoted in many speeches, will adorn social media posts, and used as an empty rallying cry," DA Women’s Network (Dawn) leader Nomafrench Mbombo said in a statement marking Women's Day.

"Reality is that being a woman in South Africa is the most frightful thing and the truth is that the only reason women are regarded as rocks, is because we are so repeatedly struck. We are struck by our partners, by our fathers, uncles, cousins, neighbours, friends, co-workers and strangers in the street," she said.

Women in South Africa were lucky if the men in their life were decent. Most of the female population in South Africa were not so lucky. Many women had lived through multiple incidents of sexual harassment and had had to pick up the pieces of their lives after sexual assault, and "we’ve had to tease the pieces of our souls back to life after rape".

"This Women’s Day we demand the implementation the decisions taken at the summit on gender-based violence, particularly the one about establishing a multi-sectoral, coordinating structure to respond to GBV and femicide; to allocate the necessary and adequate resources required and to develop a national GBV and femicide strategy.

"It will take the whole of society to end violence against women and children. We do not need more empty words from ANC politicians. We do not pay their lies any attention anymore. They are not worth the paper they are written on," Mmombo said.

To this end Dawn had developed a comprehensive GBV and femicide strategy. This was the time to act and Dawn would hold the government accountable.

"We’ll listen again when you’ve actioned even one of the legions of promises over the years. We’ll listen again when courts do not blame victims and the rapists and assaulters get their deserved justice. We’ll listen again when boys are taught to not rape, rather than girls being taught what not to wear and how to protect themselves. We’ll listen again when your words become actions," she said.

The DA-led Western Cape government was leading by example. They had appointed a GBVF officer who would conduct watching briefs for the cases that were not properly investigated and the ones thrown out of court due to lack of evidence.

In June the province became the first in South Africa to also appoint a children’s commissioner who was monitoring, researching, investigating, lobbying, and reporting on children and their best interest.

"It's time that we hold government to account and not be fooled by their sweet words. Our women deserve better," Mbombo said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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