Address by Ms CN Majeke MP in the National Assembly regarding the high incidence of violence and abuse against women and children
Hon Speaker, and Honourable Members
Twenty years into our democracy, our women and children continue to be victims of gender and child abuse. We still need a radical social paradigm shift about gender – equality that should usher in a new generation of women and men working together to create a human world order that is safe for our children.
The numbers reported daily through the media of the various forms of violence against children and women; continue to escalate even during campaigns when the nation is giving specific focus to these vulnerable groups in society.
Despite successful battles by women, securing many basic rights, many of which have since been legislated including the rights of children yet in the private sphere of women and children, in their homes, abuse and inequality remains a battle to be fought collectively.
Research by a non-government organisation Community Agency for Social Enquiry states that causes for this situation can range from “personal experiences of abuse and the impact of dysfunctional families, to broader social factors such as high levels of poverty, the acceptance of violence in society, unequal gender relations, the disintegration of family life, certain cultural traditions and substance abuse”.
Whilst efforts to educate women and society at large about the rights of women and children and the responsibility of all citizens with respect to ensuring that such rights and legislations are respected and adhered to, many women remain unaware of their rights.
Some women are afraid of further and increased violence from perpetrators if they were to report to the SAPS their situation they find themselves in their private homes.
There are institutions created by the Constitution and various other legislations to attend to violence against women and children, however, the geographic locations limits physical access to them and their programmes for rural women and children who are hit hard by violence. Some of these do not have free call centres or lines that run 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Certainly, as a nation, we have a responsibility and duty, to unite against the violence and abuse of women and children.
We also need to pay more and special attention to the women and children in villages, farms and informal settlements. We must as well give sufficient attention to women and children with handicapped, because they suffer double jeopardy.
The fight against violence and abuse of women and children demands that a zero-tolerance system to punish, deter and rehabilitate offenders whilst supporting and restoring dignity and justice to victims. We must move with speed to eliminate all obstacles that limit women’s access to wealth creation,