De Lille speaks out against gender-based violence

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister, Patricia de Lille, says gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) has become a second pandemic, with women and children being abused and killed on a daily basis.

“It is an illness destroying the fabric of our country and one which needs all South Africans to stand together and act to end this scourge,” De Lille said.

The Minister made the comment while visiting Kerr House in Durban, which has been in existence since 1951 and provides a safe haven for abused and destitute women.

Kerr House provides refuge to women and children in crisis by providing them with safe, clean and comfortable accommodation, for up to 17 mothers and children.

De Lille said Women’s Month, which is commemorated in August, should be about celebrating the many wonderful women in South Africa but issues including GBVF mar it.

“We need all men and women to stand together and speak up against the horrific violence perpetrated against our women and children each day,” De Lille said.

She applauded the work that many of these shelters do and called on communities to support these shelters.

“Our women and children are the backbone and future of our country, and should be protected and respected by the very perpetrators who harm them.

“The women in crisis face various issues like divorce, violence and abuse, rejection and stigmatisation by family and community, and deal with a range of life traumas, and some are survivors of rape.

“We simply must do more to restore the fabric of our country, to restore families, by installing good values in our young boys, and having men stand up and help the men in our society who need help.”

De Lille saluted the work that Kerr House does, which includes the development of a programme targeted at boys and young men. It provides them with an alternative model of behaviour, which is aimed at giving them more positive choices in their relationships with women, and thereby saying "no" to crime.

Women were also called on speak out and not protect their abusers.

“To all women and men, do not keep quiet. Please speak up and help when you know of abuse happening in your extended family or in your community.”

Minister De Lille and her deputy, Noxolo Kiviet,  handed over donations including bedding, kitchenware and building materials such as paint and plumbing equipment, to assist with some of the needs at the home.

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has released 12 State-owned properties (six in Gauteng and six in the Western Cape) to be used as shelters for victims of GBVF. The department has also installed more than 15 billboards at police stations in various provinces with anti-GBVF messaging and helplines for women to report abuse and get help.

Kerr House works closely together with other service providers, including the Department of Social Development, Lifeline, Child Welfare and others, to rehabilitate residents. –