25 November 2014
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is issuing this call to all South Africans as we begin 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence against women and children.
Over the last three years our country has seen an unprecedented rise in the scourge of GBV. More and more women and children are exposed to all forms of abuse and violence – battering, rape and murder. Children have become a bargaining chip who can be destroyed at any time when men face challenges in their relationships.
Will South Africa ever be free of patriarchy? It has become a widely recognised fact that patriarchal norms and attitudes, including those that excuse or legitimise the use of violence, are driving the high rates of GBV in South Africa.
This social scourge has got many destructive results for women’s, children’s and gay people’s lives. In addition to intimate partner violence, lesbian women are killed for sport in South Africa with their families finding very little support from the judicial system.
As this international campaign begins, COSATU reminds South Africans that our campaign is not just for 16 days but 365 Days of Activism against GBV, as our country is leading in this atrocious scourge. A woman is raped every 26 seconds and can face secondary harassment, even further rape, at the police station as well.
According to a study by Genderlinks more than three quarters of South African men have perpetrated violence against women in their lifetime and more than half of in South African women have experienced gender-based violence, which indicates under-reporting of GBV.
COSATU is making a clarion call to the SAPS, the Judiciary, Parliament and the South African population at large that enough is enough! No to gender-based violence!
The majority of South Africans, who also happen to be women, have placed very high hopes on our democracy. They continue to vote in large numbers in every election and yet their issues continue to be the lowest priority on the politicians’ agenda.
The Genderlinks report also indicated that only 4, 8% of 1956 political speeches made in 2013 mentioned GBV. This is very worrying considering that women are represented at 44% within our Parliament; this figure should have been at least 44%.
We call on our communities to display a 0% tolerance for GBV. We call on our politicians to advance sterner measures for dealing with perpetrators. We call on our judiciary to be firm on perpetrators of GBV! We call on the police to be tough on perpetrators of GBV! We call on the government to educate all its officials on GBV!
GBV implications go beyond the personal; they impact on health resources, access to education and employment for women as well as on productivity.
– Don`t be a victim! Know your rights! Speak out!
– Don’t be a perpetrator! Act against abuse!
– Count yourself in by breaking the silence!
– Do not look away! Lend a hand! GBV is a public matter!
– Count me in!
Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward!
From Peace in the home to peace in the world!
Let us challenge militarism and end violence against women!