Wednesday, 1 August, marked the beginning of Women’s Month and what better way of celebrating women than a march to create awareness for women and child abuse.
Members of the community of Mkhondo participated in this nationwide initiative in aid of showing their support against gender based violence, specifically against women and children. The protestors’ march started in eThandukukhanya and they made their way to the local Police Station to deliver a memorandum to the Station Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Blose and Mbongwa, outlining their grievances.
The memorandum contained 24 demands, which represents each year that the state has failed to ensure the right of being free from violence, according to a summary of the march. The GNC (Women and Gender non-conforming people) believe that an integrated approach to fight gender based violence, has the ability to ensure better protection for women.
The aim of the awareness march was to demand that the SAPS must do everything within their power to protect all women and children. The memorandum contained the following:
- Gender based violence in Mkhondo is extremely high and it cannot be tolerated any longer. They are demanding a commitment to establish and drive a multi-stakeholder and comprehensive process to address and reduce violence against women and children.
- The appointment of police members who are specifically tasked to handle gender based violence cases. Police officials need to be trained properly to handle the abuse of women and children.
- Develop a Local Strategic Action Plan, which will form an update of the action plans set in place.
- GBV (gender based violence) victims to receive proper assistance from the police.
- Police officers have to stop using harmful and negative gender stereotypes that reinforce secondary victimization. Police members should refrain from being rude, insensitive and insulting. Strong disciplinary actions should be taken against the guilty parties.
- Provision to be made to support victims and survivors, which includes a referral list of places where proper services will be provided.
- The publication of a list of police officials who have been reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate for failing to provide services to survivors of GBV.
- Establish a police station in eThandukukhanya with satellite facilities in the rural outskirts of Mkhondo for a stronger outreach.
- Feedback and successful arrests of suspects responsible for GBV in Mkhondo.
- Consistency in the handling of cases i.e. bail granted and arrests.
- Visible policing.
- Survivors should be transported to and from the hospital for medical and administrative purposes. The victims should not be deprived of their right to open a case based on the hospital’s administrative documentation (i.e. J88). This is supposed to serve as a supporting document and should not be an impediment to open a case.
- Police to respond promptly to complaints and refrain from telling a victim that there are no vehicles available, when the vehicles are parked outside the station.
- End the impunity for gender based violence.
The memorandum was handed over on Wednesday, 1 August 2018, and feedback on the grievances is to be dealt with within 14 days of receipt of the memorandum. Zero tolerance for violence against women and children! “Phansi Ngokubulala!”