SA recommits to end gender violence

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pretoria - The South African delegation at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) has reiterated the country’s commitment to end gender based violence.

The meeting, which is taking place from 4 -15 March at the UN headquarters, in New York, is themed “Hand-in-Hand with Men and Boys against Gender-Based Violence”.

Speaking at the meeting on Monday, Deputy Minister of the South African Police Service (SAPS), Maggie Sotyu said to build gender equality and to prevent and end gender-based violence cannot be a women’s issue, but a human issue, which must then also involve men and boys.

“Men must be involved because most of them are real men who do not rape or abuse, and thus have a positive role to play in helping to stop violence against women and children, and help build gender equality. These men have mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, who would want them to be safe,” Sotyu said.

Sotyu said the Hand-in-Hand with Men and Boys against Gender-Based Violence must kick-start a platform to see men and women as more interconnected and related within a gender system, adding that men also experiences disempowerment.

Teaching men to intervene against the problematic behaviour of other men is critical to social change and it is essential because men care so much about what other men think.

“It will thus be important not to separate discussions on men’s violence from other social issues such poverty, unemployment, health, substance abuse, etc. Ending men’s violence must be part of other social development goals,” added Sotyu.

She also committed her ministry into doing everything in its ability to root out the cause of gender equality.

Sotyu is part of the SA delegation at the meeting led by Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana, and includes Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini and Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Adv Ngoako Ramahlodi.

The meeting, which is attended by government delegations from other UN member states, will see governments reporting to the UN on work that has been done in their respective countries to prevent gender based violence.

South Africa is participating in various activities of the session and will host and coordinate side events on gender based violence, economic empowerment of women as well as an event which will emphasise strengthening the hand in hand approach in the fight against gender based violence, strategies and approaches for ending violence against women, strengthening partnerships for working solutions.

The team has also delivered a pledge, signed by President Jacob Zuma to the UN to end violence against women and girls and commits South Africa to full laws and strategies to combat the scourge .-