I first became interested in the issue of sexual violence when learning about rape on United States university campuses. I wanted to better understand sexual violence on a global scale, and so I sought out a foreign organization working in this domain. Eventually, I found Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust! I saw that Rape Crisis […]
On the 28 of March a group of would be writers gathered at the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education to attend the second in a series of workshops hosted by Rape Crisis in order to learn about writing on the topic of rape. The workshop was facilitated by Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust Director Kathleen […]
It is estimated that 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and only 8.6% of rape perpetrators are convicted. Unfortunately, most people believe these rapes only occur in dark alleyways by hooded strangers. Rape Crisis’ new campaign reveals that the truth is a lot closer to home. 68% of rape survivors […]
The 14th of February, doesn’t have to be celebrated in the traditional way
Cyril Ramaphosa will have to explain on Thursday how the state will give effect to majority party January 8 statement commitments in the light of a shrinking fiscus.
Gender-based violence made it into the January 8 statement of the majority party. And not just a mention – a relatively thorough and honest assessment of the state of women and girl children in South Africa, and in particular the unprecedented levels of abuse, violence and murder suffered by them. The president said “we must hang our heads in shame” at the state of gender-based violence and the patriarchal practices that give rise to it in the country.
Indeed. He also asked the men in the stadium to stand and make a commitment to end gender-based violence. Contrast this with no mention of gender-based violence at all in last year’s January 8 statement.
Previously we wrote about the space created for discussion as we partnered with the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Law and Society to host a panel discussion on developing court models in South Africa. However, it was not only the space that we were grateful for, but also the content of the discussion.
As the three researchers, Lisa Vetten, Dr Aisling Heath, and Karen Hollely, shared some key findings from their work and presented their opinions to the people that attended, there was a very clear golden thread tying together their findings: people. When victims of sexual offences were interviewed during research conducted by the Child Witness Institute, it was clear that people’s experience of the criminal justice system and sexual offences court depends on the people that work in the court and how supportive they are. This was the same for when magistrates and prosecutors were interviewed about working in sexual offences courts – justice is dispensed by people and who those people are, matter greatly.
Spaces where researchers, activists and students can gather to share thoughts, ideas and dreams, are few and far between. That is why we were so grateful and excited when the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Law and Society offered to partner with us to host a panel discussion on developing court models in South Africa.
This discussion was designed to follow on from the National Forum on the Implementation of the Sexual Offences Act that was presented by the Department of Justice at the end of 2017 and where some of the research concerning sexual offences courts was first presented to the public. However, only a handful of representatives from the NGO sector could attend the DOJ’s forum and we were interested to hear the views of others in the field of sexual violence, colleagues who work in courts and fellow activists.
Our panel discussion on developing court models in South Africa took place on 26 April 2018 in Cape Town and we were joined by three panellists; Lisa Vetten, from the Wits City Institute, Dr Aisling Heath from the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit at UCT, and Karen Hollely from the Child Witness Institute. Together they shared some of the key findings of their three separate research undertakings in the area of sexual offences in the court system. Their separate research studies looked at the experiences of victims of sexual violence in courts, the observation of court proceedings and the reviewing of court files. They not only shared their very interesting findings, but also their personal opinions of how this issue should be taken forward.