“Enough is enough. Our lives are threatened on a daily basis and today, as we celebrate Women’s month, something needs to be done to make sure our voices are heard”.
Those are the words of Terrishai Choochoo, a representative from Mosaic in Wynberg, a community based non-governmental organisation that offers holistic and integrated programmes, aimed at preventing all forms of abuse and violence against women and children.
As Wednesday marked the start of Women’s month, women came out in their numbers to participate in a march themed #TotalShutdown to highlight gender based violence and the increasing number of femicide in the country.
Hundreds of women from various organisations and movements such as Moms Move for Justice, Right2Know, Rural Women Assembly, Cosatu, Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies, the Portfolio Committee for Women in Presidency as well as Mosaic, amongst others gathered at Keizergraght Street in Cape Town today.
Avril Andrews, founder of the Moms for Justice Movement says the women of this country are aware that gender based violence against women, non-conforming women and intersectional women has reached levels that are unacceptable and cause untold harm.
“We are also aware of the complex multi layered factors that have resulted in South Africa being counted amongst the highest ranking countries with unprecedented levels of gender based violence against women,” Andrews stated.
Andrews said they acknowledged that there have been numerous protests and activities undertaken by many mon-governmental organisations and other interest groups in society fighting this scourge.
“It is evident to us that without a total integrated action by all relevant segments of our society as well as political will, nothing will change to eliminate this scourge. That is why as women, we have been moved to rise, march and protest to demand an end to gender based violence against women today,” Andrews stated.
Soeraya Salie, founder of the Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies says enough is enough and it is time that government do their bit to protect women and children.
“I am here to support all women who are victims of abuse of any kind. Enough is enough Mr President, we want stronger punishments for those who are guilty of gender based crimes,” Salie stressed.
Meanwhile a representative from Right2Know says they hope the march will have a positive impact on government.
“We hope that government hears our cries, maybe if we all participate in the march then they would realise the seriousness of the situation and see that women are the backbone of society and we need protection,” she said.
Lungisa from the Rural Women Assembly said she fully supports the call for South Africans to unite and fight against women abuse, especially those who are voiceless.
“Our mothers and sisters in rural area are suffering under patriarchy and traditional leaders. They are abused by men and are punished once they speak out. We will no longer tolerate this abuse anymore and that is why we are here today,” she added.
During a speech by each representative present at the march, emotions were high as women re-enacted stories of women and children who were raped and killed in the Western Cape over the past year. As women shared their stories, there was a sombre mood as mothers, daughters and sisters stood in silence remembering those they lost at the hands of violence against women and children. Eyes filled with tears when a 6 year old girl from Bonnteheuwel stood in the crowd with a placard reading “enough” which proved that you are never too young to stand up for your rights.