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Topnews, Südafrika

18. November 2021

MESSAGE FROM THE DESK OF THE AMBASSADOR

Dear Friends

The month of November is dedicated to the elimination of violence against women.

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign (16 Days Campaign) is a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November to 10 December and forms a key point of government’s comprehensive 365 Day of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. 

During the 16 Days period, the South African Government together with civil society and the private sector will host a series of community and sector dialogues and activities to foster a collaborative effort in dealing with Gender-based Violence (GBV). The campaign aims to raise awareness of the negative impact that violence and abuse have on women and to rid society of abuse permanently. President Ramaphosa has likened GBV to a pandemic which cripples our society and deprives women and children of their right to be safe and is itself a human rights violation.

COVID pandemic exacerbates GBV

The COVID pandemic has exacerbated the crisis through lengthy lockdowns resulting in many victims being locked in with their abusers, who are more often close family members and friends. This has not been unique to South Africa but also Austria, as governments across the world grapple to deal decisively and urgently with this issue. In his appeal to stem this blight on society, President Ramaphosa has called on every man to make a conscious decision never to harm a woman or child. He called out chauvinistic and sexist attitudes that lead men to believe they are superior to their mothers, their wives and partners and their daughters. Parliament has added the situation requires urgent action so that men of tomorrow understand that their gender does not entitle them to women’s bodies or make them inherently superior in any way to the other gender. Women do not have to fight gender-based violence as men need to be part of the solution.

In this regard, Parliament is processing three Bills to assist government; law enforcement agencies and court to actively handle violence against women. The three Bills are the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill; the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill; and the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill.

In this regard, I would like to encourage all of you to be activists against GBV in your homes, communities and workplaces. Be confident in challenging cultures and practices that perpetuate gender inequalities and play your role in promoting gender empowerment. Do not protect abusers and do not become abusers yourselves.

Teach your children values of gender equality and be an example yourself. Above all, be sensitive and supportive to GBV victims and help make our communities safer for women.

Let us strive to be part of the solution and not the problem.

Kind regards

RS Molekane

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