The scourge of gender violence against women should be approached in the same manner government and civil society has dealt with the spread of HIV/ Aids, says gender activist Colleen Lowe-Morna.
While acknowledging much has been achieved to empower women in post-apartheid SA, Lowe-Morna, chief executive officer of nonprofit women’s organisation Gender Links, has called for an aggressive approach to fighting gender violence.
“The past 25 years of democracy has delivered a constitutional foundation to empower SA women. We have seen a plethora of progressive laws, a working constitutional framework and a functioning equality court.
“But a sad statistic of a woman being murdered by her intimate partner every six hours calls on us to turn the corner as we did with HIV/Aids,” said Lowe-Morna.
“We are faced with a pandemic. But we do not see the same response in terms of leadership and resources provided in fighting gender violence.”
Paying tribute to Karabo Mokoena and many victims who died gruesomely due to gender violence, Lowe-Morna said the country’s criminal justice system failed women due to cases being struck off the court roll because of lack of evidence and family stigma associated with reporting spouses.
“That only 7% of these cases get to conviction means we have a long way to go.
“There is a 40% gap between what an average man and woman earn, pointing to the economic status of women still being inferior,” Lowe-Morna said.