Women march against abuse
This past week scores of women marched along streets of Mhluzi in condemnation of the growing scourge of women and children abuse in the area. The women were marshaled by Steve Tshwete local municipality and its stakeholders in a drive that witnessed the conducting of a door-to-door campaign in areas which are deemed the most affected by gender-based violence. The mandate of the door to door stops was to disseminate information with regard to varying aspects that are regarded as women abuse and offering advice of pathways to report and escape such situations.
Whilst in 1998 The Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 was enacted the violence against women is at its highest in the history of the nation with statistics revealing that one in five women suffer abuse. Over the door to door visits numerous women opened up on a range of issues from unemployment, crime and substance abuse to abuse by their spouses. What became most disquieting was that the victims did not have courage to report incidents of abuse to relevant authorities. The SAPS has nationally been on a drive to educate and encourage the women to report any forms of violence and abuse to them at an early stage. Due to the fact that abuse on women is carried out but those closest to them more often the people normally leave it until the its late to report such incidents. There is an encouragement from the law enforcers that encourages women to come to the SAPS offices and that though the abused women may not desire to open a criminal case they are able to acquire a protection order against the perpetrators of the abuse.
In the aftermath of the march Brigadier Mariah Jiyane from Mhluzi Police Station stated that “we could establish that majority of victims of all forms of abuse still find it difficult to report to the police. We encourage women to stand up report and open cases of abuse”. Lindiwe Lekgabe Manager for Special Services at Steve Tshwete Municipality conceded that the month of August is not enough to deal with the scourge of abuse on women, “We want to see ongoing public campaigns to tackle attitudes to sexual violence, and work with young people in schools to prevent harmful behaviours developing in the first place”, this Lindiwe Lekgabe said adding that It is also critical that all women and girls have access to Rape Crisis centres or other specialist support services within the community.”
Speaking about the mandate and the strategy behind the march said Steve Tshwete Spokesperson, Prudence Magutle specified that “we gathered with different departments as stakeholders because these are social issues that government and SAPS alone cannot solve, it’s important that all parties work together if we are to solve them. We worked with statistics from SAPS on areas that are predominantly full of abuse of women and children especially in Extensions 5, 6, 7, 8, Tokologo and Molope Village. These are areas that were identified in terms of gruesome abuse and killings of women and children”.