Gender violence in the Spotlight

How do we ensure the safety of women in South Africa?

The recent spate of violence against women in the country has put gender violence into the spotlight and has raised questions about how women can be protected.

Over the past weeks, the country was devastated to hear that Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana admitted to assaulting Mandisa Duma, but was not arrested.

Soccer legend Marks Maponyane was also found guilty of assaulting his ex-wife and walked away with just a R3000 fine.

The first lady of Zimbabwe Grace Mugabe is also in hot water for assaulting a 20-year-old South African woman who was spending time with her sons at a Sandton hotel.

What is being done to ensure the safety of women in South Africa?

Director of People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), Nhlanhla Mokwena says there aren't enough measures put in place to assist survivors of abuse.

There is a dire need for legal services for women.

Nhlanhla Mokwena, Director of People Opposing Women Abuse

We are finding that women are treated with disrespect by the police and also the courts.

Nhlanhla Mokwena, Director of People Opposing Women Abuse

She says it is important that those accused of gender violence are no longer treated with impunity.

Women are going to the police seeking service but they are not getting the services that they deserve. Instead, they are being re-victimised

Nhlanhla Mokwena, Director of People Opposing Women Abuse

Legal Director at the Women's Legal Centre, Seeham Samaai, says legislation has been put in place to protect women, but the flaws within the criminal justice system of the country are failing them.

She says the Women's Legal Centre in currently looking into why there is no funding available for the enforcement of cases and also ensuring that the state is held accountable for re-victimisation.

There are fewer services to protect women over the past 10 years.

Seeham Samaai, Legal Director at the Women's Legal Centre

Secondary victimisation is a reality for most women. It takes a huge amount of courage to come out of a community that is already patriarchal in nature - to be able to lay a complaint at Saps and still deal with people who are not sensitive.

Seeham Samaai, Legal Director at the Women's Legal Centre

To hear the rest of the interview, listen below:

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