By Ragheema Mclean
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) activists and civil rights organizations have expressed relief as the National Assembly recently passed the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Bill.
The passing of this bill signifies a significant step forward in the fight against GBV in South Africa. This legislation lays the foundation for the establishment of a national council consisting of no more than thirteen members.
These members will be appointed with civil society participation and will oversee an approach to GBV and femicide that includes short, medium, and long-term priorities aligned with various national frameworks.
Speaking to VOC Breakfast on Monday morning, Director of the Ihata Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Nuraan Osman, said that the challenges lie in the implementation of the bill and how it will affect people on the ground.
“South Africans accept incredible levels of violence.”
“There is so much that still needs to be done in terms of education, capacity building, and strengthening responses.”
Preventing GBV is vital. Osman rightly noted that “it’s not enough to have everything on paper but nothing in reality.” Multiple layers of intervention are required, and prevention is where it all begins, she added.
She stressed that one of the key methods for tackling GBV is through education and active teaching and explained that the process of prevention should start early, this could be done through comprehensive discussions about GBV in schools.
“This involves teaching the youth about respectful relationships, consent, and the importance of empathy and equality,” she noted.
Furthermore, Osman pointed out that alcohol abuse continues to be a significant issue, and with the approaching holiday season, incidents are expected to rise.
“I wish that alcohol could be banned in this country; it is highly problematic.”
She highlights that the months of November and December regularly witness a spike in physically wounded victims because of alcohol abuse.
In the event that anyone requires assistance, they can reach out to the Ihata Shelter at (021) 638-5578. It is important to clarify that this contact is intended for secondary cases; the shelter does not provide assistance for emergency cases.