In a pre recorded address to the nation today, President Ramaphosa made a number of commitments to end Gender Based Violence in South Africa. Part of his speech included a roll call of dead women, who died at the hands of men.
In these moments it is okay to feel hopeless, helpless, vulnerable and angry. The past week has highlighted horrific incidents of violence against women. People have expressed their rage, helplessness and hopelessness at the situation and rightly so. Many of us are experiencing moral fatigue on social issues in South Africa and globally.
Team building activity: The helium pole
Rape Crisis is an organisation whose work is for the healing and empowerment of survivors of sexual violence. Our work is founded on feminist principles of advocacy, freedom from patriarchal violence and freedom of choice. Rape Crisis makes visible the needs as well as the experience and disempowering reception and treatment of survivors as they navigate the system in search of help and justice.
In our previous blog The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) we described how UN Member States, civil society organisations and UN entities gather at UN headquarters in New York to discuss matters of importance for the rights of women across the world.
South Africa being a member state is represented by Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Bathabile Dlamini who leads a government and civil society delegation that includes Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu. The delegation will present South Africa’s report on the status of social protection system, access to public service, sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in South Africa. Minister Zulu will also participate in some of the ministerial roundtables, high level interactive dialogue and interactive expert panels.
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.