From Awareness to Accountability
The statistics of gender-based violence internationally and locally remain shockingly high, as the number of reported cases continues to rise. The killing of women is five times higher in South Africa than the global average.
Every year our Sozo beneficiaries complete a survey, where they are asked their opinion on violence within relationships and the home. Overwhelmingly our men, women, and learners report that GBV is unacceptable and has no place in the home or relationships. Yet in our community, just as in many others, violence against women and children remains a commonplace phenomenon.
It is time for us to move from “Awareness to Accountability”, this is also the international theme of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign this year. Gender-based violence is not a fight for women and children alone! President Ramaphosa has called on men to actively stand against gender-based violence. President Ramaphosa argues that as it is men who are the primary perpetrators, it should be men taking the lead in speaking out and reporting gender-based violence. He has called on men to break the cycle of violence, by taking a formative role in their families, and to raise their families with empathy, tolerance and respect.
As a nation, it is time to stand together, take accountability and combat GBV in our communities. We must recognize gender-based violence as a public issue, it is not a private matter for the home. If we witness, suspect or experience abuse, we must report it! We must not protect abusers by staying silent. If we witness or suspect abuse in our homes, on our streets or in our communities, we must call the police immediately. We can only move from awareness to accountability by taking action to protect women and children.
The Sozo Tribe protesting “enough is enough” end violence against women, in 2019.
Article written by The Sozo Foundation’s Psycho-Social Manager, Luise Els
25 November 2021