More efforts needed to fight gender-based violence

According to the NPA, there are 161 court preparation officers countrywide at various courts dealing with gender-based violence.

Ongoing gender-based violence has forced women to believe they have no authority over their bodies and spirits, allowing men to be superior to women, says an expert.

Women felt they had no say or power to bring justice to their perpetrators and stop violence against women and children. Girls’ and Boys’ Town South Africa spokesperson Masego Seema said violence could be expressed through physical and emotional abuse, or through financial and societal structures.

She said the organisation was this year focusing on the call to effect change, with the hope for perpetrators to take up this call and stop violence against children and women.

“All our children at Girls’ and Boys’ Town South Africa are treated equally because this is the society we aim to build for men and women to use their differences and diverse talents to make our world better – regardless of their sex or gender,” said Seema.

“Through a combination of interventions, our organisation on average assists between 16,000 to 20,000 beneficiaries a year.”

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), gender-based violence has reached exponential proportions in South Africa and was further complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The NPA said in a statement anyone who had suffered at the hands of a perpetrator and was in need of support should reach out to them.

“A young woman was apprehensive to testify against her own father who should have protected her, but also, on the other hand, she was also unnerved about going to court and testifying in front of strangers relating intimate details of her incident,” the statement read.

“The victim compiled her own statement outlining her emotional, psychological, physical and financial ordeal at the hands of the perpetrator in her own language. This statement was used in court by the prosecutor and the presiding officer referred to it during judicial proceedings.

“The victim found it helpful in her journey of recovery to articulate the impact which the crime had on her life and how she was violated. The accused was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.”

According to the NPA, there are 161 court preparation officers countrywide at various courts dealing with gender-based violence. For more information on the service, call 0800-428-428 or SMS *120*7867#.

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