Tembisa women break gender violence silence

Tembisa women break gender violence silence"Nothing for us without us" says youth activists. (Photo credit: Pontsho Pilane) (File Photo)

Tembisa women are reporting cases of domestic violence and sexual assault more than before. Dipuo Thobejane, a social worker at People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), attributes this to an increase in awareness campaigns.

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“Most of the women have been in this situation for years. Through the awareness campaigns we do they gather strength and the courage to report their situations,” she said. Tembisa SAPS spokesperson Manyadza Ralidhivha said police were also seeing many breaking the silence.

“There is a significant response from the community especially from those who were in violent relationships. Men are also coming forward to report abuse.”

Interventions

Ralidhivha said some women opted for other interventions besides opening criminal cases, such as taking out a protection order.

Thobejane said despite the rise in the number of reported cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse, some women end up dropping them in the hope their abusers would change. “The dropping of cases continues to negatively affect the seriousness of domestic violence as officials end up not taking them seriously,” she said.

However, the police found that most complainants of domestic violence cases followed them until they were finalised by the courts.

Respect

Thobejane believes the behaviour towards women and children needs to be challenged.

“We need to teach our children from a very young age on how to treat each other; that everyone be it male or female is important and deserves equal respect. By so doing, we are protecting them from victimising each other as they get older, stopping future perpetrators and victims,” she said.

The police want to ensure that the fight against violence on women and children does not stop with campaigns only.

Statistics South Africa reported that the murder rate for women increased by 117% between 2015 and 2016/2017 and sexual offences experienced by women jumped from 31 665 in 2015/16 to 70 813 in 2016/17, making it an increase of 53%. – Health-e News