It’s that time of the year again. And every year I wrestle with how we feel about the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence and Abuse against
Women and Children
campaign that kicks off on November and runs until December 10. Although the campaign is held for only sixteen days, for it to be successful it rests on each individual and the nation as a whole in taking action for the security, protection and safety of our women and children against abuse and violence
UDEMWO is of the view that it is not enough that we only have 16 days to fight against the violence and abuse of women and children and therefore makes a call to the government and stakeholders to take action and make it an everyday lifestyle and everyone’s first agenda in their day to day lives.
If one were to look at high profile cases like Shrien Dewani and Oscar Pistorius, the feeling is that the country’s justice and security systems is not strong enough to protect our women and children against this scourge. Our borders are easily accessible to anyone who feels like coming to our country to commit all sorts of crime and get away with it. The UDEMWO calls upon the government to increase safety and security at the country’s borders.
Looking at the Oscar Pistorius trial the question arises as to whether he received a just and suitable sentence for the death of Reeva Steenkamp and if not, are women safe and protected? Doesn’t his sentencing not encourage other men to kill, abuse and violate women’s knowing that they will get light sentences or community service? Doesn’t this then promote mob justice as sentences are not suitable to the crime committed and therefore not acceptable to communities? How safe are women and children in their own homes and communities?
Victims of sexual offences and domestic violence are often highly-stigmatised. Because far too many South Africans condone such violence, women often feel obliged to protect members of their families who have committed such crimes and decide on keeping quiet about it because they are afraid that the perpetrator will get few years of imprisonment and still come back to abuse or kill them or the perpetrator is the breadwinner. Action needs to be taken from grassroots level and the government needs to do more in fighting this criminal activity.
The way we socialise our boys and girls must talk to addressing the scourge by treating them as equals and giving them an equal platform in taking action with regard to any activities within the school and community environment.
The government safety and security agency must claim back the street back to the community.