South Africa: Women Deserve More Than Lip Service This Women's Day

press release

Note to Editors: Please find attached a video by Dr Nomafrench Mbombo MP, DA Women's Network Leader.

It's that time of year again where South African women will be inundated with messages of how strong we are. We will be told how we are revered, treasured, beloved. "Wathint' Abafazi, Wathint' Imbokodo / You Strike A Woman, You Strike A Rock" will surely be quoted in many speeches, will adorn social media posts and used as an empty rallying cry.

Reality is that being a woman in South Africa is the most frightful thing and the truth is that the only reason women are regarded as rocks, is because we are so repeatedly struck.

We are struck by our partners, by our fathers, uncles, cousins, neighbours, friends, co-workers and strangers in the street.

If you are a female in South Africa, you are lucky if the men in your life are decent. If they do not subject you to sexual harassment, never mind sexual assault or rape. You are lucky if the only close encounters you've had was a dodgy individual calling you a nasty name or telling you to smile more.

Most of the female population in South Africa is not so lucky.

Many women in South Africa have lived through multiple incidents of sexual harassment. We've had to pick up the pieces of our lives after sexual assault, and we've had to tease the pieces of our souls back to life after rape.

This Women's Day we demand the implementation the decisions taken at the Summit on Gender-Based Violence, particularly the one about establishing a multi-sectoral, coordinating structure to respond to GBV and femicide; to allocate the necessary and adequate resources required and to develop a national GBV and femicide strategy.

It will take the whole of society to end violence against women and children. We do not need more empty words from ANC politicians. We do not pay their lies any attention anymore. They are not worth the paper they are written on.

To this end DAWN has developed a comprehensive Gender-Based Violence and Femicide strategy. This is the time to act and DAWN will hold this government accountable.

We'll listen again when you've actioned even one of the legions of promises over the years. We'll listen again when courts do not blame victims and the rapists and assaulters get their deserved justice. We'll listen again when boys are taught to not rape, rather than girls being taught what not to wear and how to protect themselves. We'll listen again when your words become actions.

The DA-led Western Cape government is leading by example. They have appointed a GBVF Officer who will conduct watching briefs for the cases that are not properly investigated and the ones that are thrown out of court due to lack of evidence.

Since June the province became the first in SA to also appoint a Children's Commissioner who is monitoring, researching, investigating, lobbying and reporting on children and their best interest.

It's time that we hold government to account and not be fooled by their sweet words. Our women deserve better.

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