Tshintsha Amakhaya stands fully with scores of women and non-gender conforming people expected to embark on a nationwide march on Wednesday,1 August 2018, against gender-based violence in South Africa.
As Tshintsha Amakhaya, we are appalled and deeply concerned by continuing and escalating incidences of the gender-based violence in our country, by the devastating events dominating the headlines.
Because of the recent media attention, we only know the names of some women whilst there is a silent war happening at the hands of their partners, neighbours and family members. Childline confirms that one in three young people experience a sexually abusive incident, most often by someone known to them.
On social media, in response to these incidents, we have witnessed many women who have shared horrific experiences of abuse, often suffered at the hands of their partners. Key findings from the many surveys which have been done on this matter include that in South Africa, every 8 hours a woman is killed and at least half of these women die at the hands of their intimate partners.
Sonke Gender Justice says that femicide, the killing of a woman or girl – in particular by a man and on account of her gender, in South Africa is five times the global rate. This kind of violence is ubiquitous. However, all existing figures on both murder, and particularly rape, are probably underestimates, given the number of unreported cases.
As a civil society organization and alliance of several organisations and formation nationwide, we stand in solidarity with and join the fight for women and activists who have been sexually harassed or assaulted in their workplaces and encourage them to speak out, to name and shame. We make an urgent call to all men to obligate to the call by women and gender non-conforming people to vindicate their rights to life, dignity, equality, bodily integrity, freedom of movement and freedom from violence.
We are encouraged by our members in the alliance, 10 NGOs and their community partners across rural South Africa, who have recognised their constitutionally-entrenched right by joining in the protest. They will be marching in their respective communities, trying to reach marginalized women living in rural areas – who are usually the prime victims of these crimes.
“At the start of Women’s Month, Women on Farms Project acknowledges the continued marginalisation of rural women in accessing protection against violence. Farm-dwelling and rural women face abuse at the hands of their partners, as well as abuse at the hands of farmers, who hold significant social status and economic power in rural communities. Women on Farms Project notes with disappointment and concern at the continued lack of prioritisation of gender-based violence from SAPS, especially in rural areas. The Wellington community, in particular, has been rocked this year with a spate of horrific cases of missing girls and women, and femicides, which have only highlighted the ineffectiveness of local SAPS in handling these cases. WFP, along with its partner organisations, will, therefore, join in the national call for a Total Shutdown on Wednesday 1 August, with a march through Wellington to commemorate the lives of women and girls lost, and call for better police services in protection of the rights of rural women and girls,” said a statement issued by Women of Farms.
To get involved and know about organised action near you, you can follow and join the posting by #TheTotalShutdown on social media pages.