The State of the Nation Address has to move beyond the conversation about GBV and provide actions.
There is an elephant in the room and its presence has imposed unjust sanctions on the safety and security of women and the non-binary. Gender-based Violence (GBV) still remains the most pressing issue in South Africa with many women, children, and marginalized communities bearing the brunt.
Gender-based violence still remains the most pressing issue in South Africa with many women, children, and marginalized communities bearing the brunt. Despite having some of the most progressive legislations in the world, gender inequality, Gender-based violence, and societal attitudes remain prominent challenges in South Africa, with rural areas lagging far behind in terms of progress in the fight against this scourge.
This is due to a lack of access to services: limited resources, inadequately resourced police stations and civil servants, as well as prevailing social norms and stigma.
The covid-19 pandemic highlighted the impact of the lack of support for victims silently suffering at the hands of their partners in assumed places of safety (homes). Particularly with the LGBTI, women, and persons with disabilities in rural communities are the most affected. The number of GBV victims in rural and poor areas is disproportionally higher with greater impact compared to those in urban and affluent areas. This is due to a lack of access to places of safety, and adequate support for survivors from the Police, as well as other civil servants.
This should leave us wondering if we and the government are doing enough to respond effectively to the scourge that continues to produce casualties due to the system not recognizing the human right to dignity, Protection, safety, and security.
ACTIVATE! Change Drivers through the Generation G Project focusing mainly on creating gender-just and violence-free societies, has started engaging with these communities through their young people. This is to further elevate these voices in mobilizing youth and communities in their full diversity in Promoting gender justice and prevention of Gender-based violence. where the issue of adequate help resources and the lack thereof has been a thorn for these communities.
‘’ Government neglects us in rural communities they not coming to experience this first hand which in turn shows no urgency in their part ”
Yes, the Gender-based violence/Femicide (GBVF) National strategic plan has been developed and three (3) Gender-based violence (GBV) acts were signed by the president on the 28th of January 2022, but do all these speak to the most vulnerable in rural communities that are hardest hit by this scourge the answer is NO!!!!!
What is missing?
- Working with tribal, religious, and other community leaders as drivers of change and working to shift cultural and social norms.
- Raising awareness of and reducing incidents of GBV, specifically domestic violence, rape, and oppressive patriarchal norms, as well as the 3 pieces of legislation and how they speak to these vulnerable groups in communities.
- Increasing the reporting of cases and conviction of perpetrators, through deployment and fully resourced police stations and clinics as well as trained civil servants.
- Increasing psychosocial and other support for survivors directed at marginalized and vulnerable communities.
As a nation that has always prided itself in the Promotion of human rights and having the best progressive laws in the world, we still lack effective responses and urgency in addressing gender-based violence while taking on an intersectional and inclusive approach.
As the young people of South Africa, our call is to appeal to the president to prioritize the implementation of policies and legislation which will in turn enable the filtering of funds to civil society in communities and offer capacity support to those most vulnerable.
About the Author:
Nkokheli Siphilise Mankayi- Generation G(ender) Project Manager at ACTIVATE! Change drivers working under the Strategic partnership and Special Project Portfolio based in the Johannesburg Offices.