The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children is appealing to local communities to join hands with interested parties and collectively play their part to end the scourge of violence against women and children.
This comes after yet another parolee has been arrested in connection with the murder of a child. The lifeless body of 8-year-old Reagan Gertse was found mangled in the bushes of a riverbank in Tulbagh in the Cape Winelands on the weekend. Gertse’s body was discovered on Sunday morning after his family reported him missing and the community launched a search. It was then discovered the 53-year-old-man implicated in the murder of Gertse was serving a 12-year sentence for the rape of a 5-year-old boy and was out on parole, which has since been revoked.
Saartjie Baartman centre director Bernadine Bachar said one of the most prevalent factors that contribute to the abuse of women, and children is substance abuse. Others include poverty, and being desensitized to violence.
Bachar said in light of substance abuse being at the forefront of femicide, the Saartjie Baartman centre has invested in a substance abuse unit. The unit is specifically tailored to women who are dealing with substance abuse.
Bachar continued by saying it is time that communities take responsibility for their own well-being. The time for relying solely on government for protection has come and gone.
“I think it is up to every single one of us as South African citizens to stand up against Gender Based Violence (GBV), to say enough is enough and to start working together so that we do not have children murdered in our province, and so we do not have five times the global rate of abuse against women,” said Bachar.
Bachar suggested that society back-track and reinforce the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”.
Bachar pleaded compassionately, “If we see children outside that are not supervised, ask them where their parents are and assist them. If we become aware that a woman is being abused, speak to them, refer them to a shelter. We all need to be doing our little bit to ensure we bring the crime rates, and the abuse rates against women and children down,”.