Rural Women’s Assembly Statement on Gender-Based Violence & Femicide

We, the members of the Southern Africa Rural Women’s Assembly are OUTRAGED! The suffocating silence of men, churches and traditional authorities on the Femicide in South Africa is debilitating. We CAN’T BREATHE under the brutal state of this nation. South Africa, the Republic of Sexual Assaults. What women in South Africa have in common is living in fear, at the hand of intimate partners, family, friends, and strangers. When will this never-ending assault on women end? How will it end? Why is a nation like South Africa, which has a ministry solely dedicated to the affairs of women, one of the most dangerous places in the world for a woman to live? Why is our Minister for Women silent? 

We need change! We have to start with the patriarchal norms and values that exist. Much of violence is linked to the deep inequalities in our society; millions of men are without work, without dignity! And yet, society and culture say that they are the head of the household, the providers and the decision-makers. As women, we have to confront ourselves and how we are rearing our children – girls are expected to accept abuse and boys are often excused for violent behaviour. All of this breeds violence and enforces stereotypes!

We will not be silenced! Our stamina determines our survival, so we can not only plan a day of action, we will make our demands and will stop at nothing to see perpetrators brought to book. We call for solidarity from the UN Committee for the Status of Women and the international community to pressure our government to challenge patriarchy at its core. This is not just a call against GBV, this is a call to restore the Human Rights of South African women. in South Africa, women bear the brunt of GBV on a daily basis. While the world is trying to flatten the Coronavirus curve, the GBV and Femicide curve is silently and increasingly growing. GBV is a result ofincreasing levels of inequality and is often at the forefront of women being marginalized. These ongoing challenges have their roots in structural systems whose links are closely connected to patriarchy and capitalism. This system of patriarchy and capitalism oppresses women and perpetuates GBV.

We draw attention to how the justice system fails us. Especially for our members in rural communities who have to walk long distances to get to a hospital or a police station, where there is no public transport, much less safe homes for rural women. Rutal sisters are not brought into the national discussions and are a group even further marginalised due to their extenuating circumstances, not considered in the echo chambers of ministerial commissions.

In just the last week, we have lost lives at the hand of the brutal state, we say their names:

I am Tshegofatso Pule (28)

I am the unborn girl child of Tsegofatso Pule (8 months unborn)

I am Naledi Phangindawo (26) 

I am Tebogo Matsane-Mabunda (39)

I am Simbongile Nono Mancotywa 

I am Sibongiseni Gabada (34)

I am Altecia Kortjie (28)

I am Raynecia Kortjie (7)

I am Kirvan Fortuin (28)

In the last decade… 

I am all the women and folx killed by GBV and Femicide. 

Join us in our commitment to overthrow the hold of patriarchy on our country to make it safe for our women, folx, and children. 

#FEMICIDEMUSTFALL


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