City of Ekurhuleni Mayor, Sivuyile Ngodwana, has called on all of society to fight back against Gender Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) every day of the year.
The mayor was speaking during the local launch of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign held on Saturday.
Ngodwana said GBVF is a “major societal problem that needs the attention of all of us”.
“We have a problem of GBV, and we cannot just pay attention to this problem only during this time of the year. Every day a woman is abused and therefore this calls for a daily programme of activism against GBV, especially in a country where the justice department deals with no less than 50 000 cases related to GBV and almost 1 000 murder cases a year,” he said.
Ngodwana reflected on the toll that such statistics places on not only victims and survivors but also on the state.
“The high rate of GBV continues to place a heavy burden on the health and criminal justice system, as well as rendering many survivors unable to work or move freely in society, and this cannot be allowed to continue.
“This is not right, because men have a critical role to play in the campaign, both as a victim and also as perpetrator,” he said.
The city works with non-governmental and government departments in the fight against GBVF and also offers social services, including:
- Couples counselling
- Family preservation and counselling service
- Individual counselling
- Shelter placements
- Victim empowerment counselling
Meanwhile, the City of Ekurhuleni is calling on men who work at the municipality to take an active role in rooting out the scourge.
In a statement, the city said its Men’s Forum is “playing a critical role in encouraging male employees to get involved” in the 16 Days campaign.
“The forum’s main objective is to encourage men to understand the different forms of abuse, expose them and speak out against such.
“[It] focuses on diverse programmes like psychosocial support to all affected while motivating men to engage, and inspire each other to be examples of change in their communities. This also includes creating an environment for men to speak up when they too experience abuse,” the statement read.
The 16 Days of Activism Campaign is an international United Nations-endorsed initiative that takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
The campaign focuses on raising awareness to the devastating impact that gender-based violence and femicide has on women and children, and the social fabric of society. – SAnews.gov.za