End the silence, speak out against violence

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Reiger Park – President Jacob Zuma has encouraged those suffering from abuse and violence to end the silence and speak out.

“We should remind those suffering abuse and violence that [the] silence must end. Women and children who are victims of abuse must speak out. 

“We also remind women and children that nobody should make them feel guilty for speaking out, even if the perpetrator is a family member. Children in particular need care and assistance so that they can speak out and end the abuse,” said President Zuma on Tuesday.

He appealed to South Africans to work together to make South Africa free of violence against women and children.

“Working together, we want to bring an end to the attacks on women and children… We want South Africa to be safer for women and children,” President Zuma said.

The President was speaking during the launch the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign in Reiger Park, Ekurhuleni.

Campaign reaches out to men, boys

President Zuma said this year the campaign will reach out to men and boys to encourage greater participation of men in the campaign.

He urged young men and boys to commit themselves to become activists against gender based violence. 

“We are focusing our message on men as well not because South African men are abusive. It is because excluding men from participating actively in this campaign has been a serious shortcoming.

“Men also have solutions to offer in fighting violence against women and children.  All of us have a role to play,” President Zuma said.

President warns abusers, murders, rapists

The President further warned abusers, murderers and rapists that they have no place in communities. He urged citizens to work with the police and courts to ensure that criminals are arrested and convicted of crimes against women and children.

“The police and the courts are making progress in fighting this scourge with the support of communities. The South African Police Service’s Family violence, child protection and sexual offences units have been doing good work,” President Zuma said.

The number of perpetrators receiving life sentences for violence against women and children has been increasing.

In the financial year 2010/11, 299 perpetrators were sentenced to life imprisonment. 

In the 2011/2012 financial year, the number of perpetrators sentenced to life rose to 389. In the current financial year, 645 perpetrators are serving life terms for committing similar acts.

“In total, 1 832 have been sentenced to life imprisonment since the year 2010. Over and above these there are many others serving lengthy jail sentences,” President Zuma.

Working towards a united Reiger Park

Reiger Park has recently been plagued by violence and the brutal murders of children, among them Taegrin Morris, who was killed during a hijacking.

Reiger Park Community representative Alfred Woodington said the community has taken a decision to work towards a united Reiger Park and fight the scourge of women and child abuse and murder.

“For so many years, we’ve allowed criminals to do what they like in our community but we are now saying ‘genoeg is genoeg’ [enough is enough]. We want to reassure the President that we will work very hard and we would be in each and every street ensuring that women and children are not abused,” said Woodington.

Ekurhuleni Municipality Mayor Mondli Gungubele said the event couldn’t have come to a better area.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that the cases are resolved in order to assist the families to find closure,” said Mayor Gungubele.

Musician Selaelo Selota, who is also the ambassador of the campaign representing the entertainment industry, said: “There has to come a time when men and young men would stand up and say ‘Enough is enough. Count me in’.”

16 Days of Activism Campaign

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is an international campaign observed from 25 November to 10 December to raise awareness of the negative impact that violence has on women, children and society.

This year’s campaign is held under the theme “Count Me In. Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward”.

The 2014 campaign takes place within the broader context of the country’s 20 years of democracy and the 60 years of the Women’s Charter, as well as the 16th Anniversary of the campaign.

The campaign aims to provide a platform to engage all stakeholders across race, gender, age and other divides to commit to collectively fight this scourge in society and to relook at the available strategies to end violence against women and children. – SAnews.gov.za

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