Crown The Brown: Gender-Based Violence Awareness – Reese Naidoo
Crown The Brown: 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children 2020 . The societal issues surrounding Gender-based Violence (GBV) is certainly not a novel concept to South Africa. With the implications of the national lockdown and collateral of the corona virus pandemic, the country has experienced a surge in GBV incidents during 2020.
Vodacom’s support call centres saw a 65% increase in calls from woman and children victims confined to their homes. The Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) recorded more than 120,000 victims in the first three weeks of lockdown alone.
There are many different definitions of GBV. Broadly defined as the general term used to capture violence that occurs as a result of the normative role expectations associated with each gender, along with the unequal power relationships between genders within the context of a specific society.
GBV can be physical, sexual, emotional, verbal or financial and take on many new forms through the advances in technology, such as cyber-stalking, intimidation and various forms of harassment. Perpetrated by intimate partners, acquaintances, strangers and institutions.
Most acts of interpersonal gender-based violence are committed by men against women, and the man perpetrating the violence is often known by the woman, such as a partner or family member. However, men may also be susceptible to acts of GBV, although reported cases of GBV against men are far less compared to statics of reports filed for women and children.
On an individual level, GBV leads to psychological trauma, and can have psychological, behavioural and physical consequences for survivors. In many parts of the world, there is poor access to formal psycho-social, medical or legal support, which means that many survivors are unable to obtain the help they need.
Whilst international interventions and legislative provisions are important in creating a framework and dialogue against GBV, it falls upon us as individuals to implement these processes and ensure we respect the human rights of others. Without enforcement of these provisions or adhere to formal legal processes, there can be little to no improvement in reducing instances of GBV in society.
16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children
One such opportunity for individuals to participate in GBV reduction and prevention is during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign, A global United Nations initiative which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
There are various social media challenges, online courses and free webinars one can attend, or even browse through various online articles. Enabling insight as to how to reduce and prevent instances of GBV. It is e=imperative that we gain the requisite knowledge and tools to identify and mitigate acts of GBV.
However, for many on the other end of the spectrum, who are victims of abuse or know of victims suffering in silence, the most critical action to be taken is escaping from these abusive and toxic environments, seeking protection from their abusers.
In South Africa, in terms of the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998, the Government has made provision for a swift and cost-effective solution for those facing such dire circumstances, namely, the protection order. Here are some essential facts on this speedy legal solution:
What is a Protection Order?
It is an order made by a Court that prevents the respondent (the perpetrator) from causing immediate violence to the complainant (usually the victim) and can be interim or final. The victim usually makes an application with the clerk of the Magistrate’s Court, which is reviewed by a Magistrate and usually granted in favour of the complainant.
Above all, the protection order may contain certain terms and conditions that a respondent must comply with, for example, the protection order can state that the respondent is not allowed to make any contact with the complainant or any minors, or to go near the dwelling or place of work of the complainant.
This is an effective legal tool that can be used where there is an immediate threat to the complainant or likelihood of harm occurring. It is free of charge. When properly actioned, serve as an effective deterrent or remedy against the perpetrator of GBV.
Who can apply for a Protection Order?
- The complainant can apply for a protection order.
- If the complainant is a child, s/he can apply for a protection order on his/her own. No need for parental or guardian assistance.
- It is also possible for any person to apply for a protection order on behalf of the complainant.
How do I apply for a Protection Order?
- You can download the form online: https://www.saps.gov.za/services/protection_order.php
- Visit any police station for assistance.
- Visit your nearest Magistrate’s Court.
Why should I get a Protection Order?
If the court grants an interim or final protection order, a suspended warrant of arrest will also be issued and provided to the complainant. Similarly, if the respondent breaches the terms and conditions set out in the protection order, the complainant must report the breach to the police. Immediate arrest of respondent in terms of the suspended warrant of arrest.
Furthermore, as participating citizens in our democratic society, we must utilize every opportunity to add to the provision and protection of our individual and societal Constitutional rights.
“We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others” – Will Rogers.
Free Resources for GBV Victims:
GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428
South African Police Service: 086 00 10111
Legal Aid South Africa: 0800 110 110
Commission for Gender Equality: 0800 007 709
South African Human Rights Commission: 011 877 3600
Domestic Violence Helpline: 0800 150 150
AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322
FAMSA: 011 975 7101
People Opposing Women Abuse: 083 765 1235
Lifeline: 0861 322 322
Faber. T. 2020. Shocking stats on gender-based violence during lockdown revealed. Sunday Times. Available at: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2020-09-01-shocking-stats-on-gender-based-violence-during-lockdown-revealed/. Accessed Online: 27 November 2020.
SafeSpaces. 2020. Gender-based violence in South Africa. Available at: https://www.saferspaces.org.za/understand/entry/gender-based-violence-in-south-africa. Accessed Online: 27 November 2020.
South African Police Service. 2014. Applying for Protection order. Available at: https://www.saps.gov.za/services/protection_order.php. Accessed Online: 27 November 2020.