16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM : WHAT IT HOLDS FOR SA
By Bliss Ndapasowa
Gender based violence in South Africa costs the country a staggering R28,4 billion on related costs every year.
This is according to research findings by KPMG’s human and social division- a global network of financial audit, tax and advisory services.
The disturbing fact makes itself more than relevant in this period where the country joins the world in celebrating 16 days of activism.
It has been confirmed that more than 1000 women in South Africa fall victim to femicide (killing a woman by her intimate partner) with less than 38% of cases leading to conviction. Also, an average of one in five women in the country is estimated to experience gender based violence each year.
Gender Links tried to account for these trends in their 2010 and 2012 research, finding that partriachal norms and attitudes were the main root of the problem.
Women tend to accept abuse from their partners in the name of submission and respect, but in actual fact they jeopadise their integrity let alone their well being.
It is therefore saddening that avoidable acts continue to milk the country’s economy by such a margin- overshadowing funding for pressing national issues such as housing, health and wage subsidies for the unemployed.
The government announced that the campaign, moving with the theme ‘Count me in’, will be extended into a year long intensified program that will ensure participation of males as well.
Minister of Women Affairs in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu, reiterated that fighting GBV should become a national mandate at this year’s joint parliamentary sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces on 16 days of activism.
“Reducing violence against women and children is a shared responsibility. It can not be achieved by the government alone,” she said.
She further added that Institutions of scientific and industrial research have the responsibility to conduct victimology research in order to assist in early detection and prevention of GBV.
A national cohesive effort regarding GBV during this period can however provide a broad perspective on related issues as it accommodates special days such as Nov 25- International Elimination of Violence Day, Nov 29- International
Women Human Rights Defenders Day, Dec 1- World Aids Day, Dec 3- International Day for the disabled and Dec 10- International Human Rights Day.