Government will use all resources at its disposal, to make the country safer for women and children, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
“This campaign is about uniting all in our country behind one message, that women and children must be safe and must feel safe at home, in the streets and anywhere in the country,” he said at the launch of 16 days of activism of no violence against women and children in Polokwane, Limpopo.
The 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children is an international awareness, raising campaign. It takes place every year from November 25 to December 10.
South Africa adopted the campaign in 1998 as one of the intervention strategies towards creating a society free of violence.
The campaign continues to raise awareness amongst South Africans about the negative impact of violence against women and children on all members of the community.
Zuma said violence against women and children manifests itself openly in serious crimes such as murder, sexual assault, domestic violence, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm or human trafficking.
“What is of serious concern is that most women are attacked by men they know and in most cases men they are intimate with – their husbands or partners. We are losing more and more women at the hands of their violent intimate partners.”
Zuma said international studies show that women often turn a blind eye to the violence in their intimate relationships or sometimes prefer to live in denial or disbelief.
“They also live in hope that the perpetrator will change and stop their behaviour. The danger about living in an unattended violent relationship is that it intensifies over time until it leads to death.”
He said violence against women has been declared a priority crime by government, and women must not be scared to report the perpetrators to the police.
“As we meet already there are horrific tales of violent attacks, such as the gang-rape of a 13-year-old girl by 10 men in Nyanga, Cape Town,” he said.
“It is beyond comprehension that adult men can inflict such pain on a defenceless child. Other children are sexually molested at home by relatives in some cases. These are the types of incidents that should unite us all to say enough is enough.”
He said there were also cases of the abuse of girls in schools by teachers, some of whom even fall pregnant.
“Government appeals to parents and girls to report such teachers to the police and social workers. This conduct must not be tolerated. Statutory rape must be reported to the police as it is a serious crime against children.”
He aid violence against women and children was not a private matter.
“It is everybody’s business. Neighbours must not keep quiet when they see or hear women or children being attacked or abused,” he said.
“Some families take a decision to hide the abuse of children to avoid embarrassment. These incidents must be reported to the police and social workers. Children deserve justice and protection.”
Meanwhile, North West Community Safety and Transport Management MEC Dr Mokgantshang Motlhabane will kick start the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children campaigned in Leporung village near Makgobistad on Sunday.
Through this campaign, the North West would be addressing various social ills and crimes that affect communities in the North West.
Motlhabane was expected to also install safety alarms and handing out safety gadgets to selected families of rape victims, elderly headed families and families of domestic violence victims.
– African News Agency