365 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children in the WC.
Today, the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez launched 365 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.
As the leading provincial department addressing Gender Based Violence in the Western Cape, the Department of Social Development (DSD) has been mandated to facilitate a multi-sectoral consultation process to address the scourge of violence against women and children in the Western Cape.
This is the first of many workshops that will follow thereafter, with a specific focus on addressing violence, guided by the Gender Based Violence and Femicide National Strategic Plan (NSP) and the Premier’s Value Inspired Priorities (VIPs) in the Province’s crime hot spots.
Today’s workshop was aimed at knowledge sharing and improving co-ordination of societal initiatives to address violence against women and children. Role-players included stakeholders from various spheres of society, including all three spheres of government, academics, activists and civic organisations.
Minister Fernandez says, “We certainly need to start putting our money where our mouth is. I’m proud to announce today, that for the first time in the history of this Province, government officials are being tasked with designing a performance indicator, which will be measuring how our Department is addressing GBV during our term in government.
On a year-to-year basis, the Department of Social Development’s (DSD) success will largely be based on our ability to reduce the cases of violence being perpetrated against women in crime hotspots across the province. This will form part of the Western Cape Safety Plan.”
Premier Alan Winde said: "Violence against women and children is not something which should receive our attention for just 16 days of the year. It needs to be something that we are constantly working against. We must acknowledge the role of men as the primary perpetrators of violence- which is why the Western Cape Safety Plan has a strong focus on violence prevention. The plan will work with young boys who are at risk of becoming violent, to give them opportunities, role models and mentors."
Violence in general has crossed all boundaries in our society and is fast becoming normalised.
The amount of rape cases in South Africa has increased by 3.9%, from 40 035 during the 2017/18 financial year to 41 583 during the 2018/19 financial year. Sexual assault increased by 9.6%, attempted Sexual offences increased by 3.9% and contact sexual offences by 2,7%.
Approximately 4649 women were reported to have been raped in the Western Cape of which 205, were between the ages of 0-9 years. These numbers do not include the large numbers of cases that go unreported.
“Today, signifies the start of 365 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children in the Western Cape. We simply cannot pay lip service. Many have advocated for 365 Days of Activism over many years. Today, we give credence to the request of civil society! We will work together to reduce the murder rate, the cases of femicide, GBV, domestic violence, and human trafficking,” says Minister Fernandez.
Only a whole of society approach through the efforts of all spheres of society can help curb the pressure we experience on our available services, we need communities, and civil society organizations to work with government to help alleviate the high levels of trauma and violence taking place in our communities.