Johannesburg - While 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) has been welcomed by the Teddy Bear Clinic, its founder, Shaheda Omar, believes it should be commemorated every day of the year.
“Our organisation doesn't believe in just 16 days of activism but 365 days, where it is the focus and action is taken,” she told the Saturday Star this week.
“We appreciate the hype and attention the campaign receives, but it’s still not good enough and we are still not seeing a change in behaviour.”
Omar notes the national plan against violence and femicide, which focuses on issues such as identity, prevention, justice, care, response and support, economical power, research and training for victims.
But she believes that it’s still not being properly implemented.
“Many structures are not following that mandate and responses to GBV are still untimely and often inappropriate.”
Omar wants the government to be held accountable, particularly those within the crime-fighting and justice organisation.
“You can see the difference in police resources in rural and urban areas. I’m not saying it’s every police officer, but in many cases in the township there are systemic flaws within the police who are not always held accountable.”
Omar has urged the government as well as police authorities to take responsibility against GBV perpetrators.
The Teddy Bear Clinic has a host of activities planned to commemorate 16 Days of Activism Against GBV.
“We’re doing a lot of on the ground work with communities and discussing safety tips, and reminding people how to protect women and children this festive season. We also talk a lot to mothers in rural communities about how they’re raising their children and how they can dismantle gender stereotypes.”
Meanwhile, The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) Acting-Chief, Angie Mokasi, reaffirmed their commitment in ensuring the safety of the City’s residents and motorists.
“In a country plagued by violence against women and children, the protection of female residents and motorists is among our key priorities” she said.
Mokasi added that the JMPD does not tolerate any form of misconduct or corruption by its officers, or the harassment or intimidation of female motorists by male officers while on duty.
“No female motorist should ever be subjected to acts of perversion or coerced into any uncomfortable actions by any member of the JMPD. I encourage the public, and female motorists in particular, to always report cases of harassment, any form of misconduct or any act of corruption, to ensure that an investigation is instituted and appropriate punitive measures are taken.”
Motorists can report incidents of harassment, corruption and misconduct by calling the JMPD Anti-Fraud and Corruption Hotline 0800 203 712, or they can go directly to the JMPD Internal Affairs Unit office at Village Main Road and Loveday Street, Wemmer.