Reason for Gender Based Violence activism:
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and children. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, International Human Rights Day.
What is Gender Based Violence?
There are many different definitions of GBV, but it can be 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.”
The expectations associated with different genders vary from society to society and over time. Patriarchal power structures dominate in many societies, in which male leadership is seen as the norm, and men hold the majority of power. Patriarchy is a social and political system that treats men as superior to women where women cannot protect their bodies, meet their basic needs, participate fully in society and men perpetrate violence against women with impunity.
Forms of Gender Based Violence:
There are different forms of violence, and these can be and almost always are gendered in nature, because of how gendered power inequalities are entrenched in our society.
GBV can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or structural, and can be 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.
Gender Based Violence in South Africa:
Population-based surveys show very high levels of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence being the most common form of violence against women.
i. Whilst people of all genders perpetrate and experience intimate partner and or sexual violence, men are most often the perpetrators and women and children the victims.
ii. More than half of all the women murdered (56%) in 2009 were killed by an intimate male partner.
iii. Between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual and/or physical in their lifetime.
iv. Just under 50% of women report having ever experienced emotional or economic abuse at the hands of their intimate partners in their lifetime.
v. Prevalence estimates of rape in South Africa range between 12% and 28% of women ever reporting being raped in their lifetime.
vi. Between 28% and 37% of adult men report having raped a women.
vii. Non-partner sexual violence is particularly common but reporting to police is very low. One study found that one in 13 women in Gauteng had reported non-partner rape, and only one in 25 rapes had been reported to the police.
viii. South Africa also faces a high prevalence of gang rape.
ix. Most men who rape do so for the first time as teenagers and almost all men who ever rape do so by their mid-20s.
x. One study across four Southern African countries, including South Africa, found that 31.1% of women reported having experienced forced sex.
xi. Male victims of rape are another under-studied group. One survey in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape found that 9.6% of men reported having experienced sexual victimisation by another man.
Three key things to consider if you’ve recently experienced assault or abuse:
i. If you are in immediate danger or are seriously hurt, contact the South African Police Service (SAPS) for urgent assistance. Not only should the police be able to pursue the case, but they can also connect you to a medical professional and a trained counsellor if you require one.
ii. Get yourself to a safe place and out of danger as soon as you can. If you cannot do this yourself, consider reaching out to someone you trust who can assist and support you.
iii. Consider receiving immediate medical assistance from a hospital or clinic to make sure that you have not been seriously injured and, if needed, to conduct a sexual assault forensics exam. Hospitals and clinics can also help you report the case if that is something that you wish to do.
i. For urgent counselling services you can reach out to the national Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC), a 24-hour call centre established by the Department of Social Development, that offers immediate trauma counselling and assistance. The GBVCC can also reach out to the SAPS on your behalf and put you in contact with a social worker.
ii. You can contact the GBVCC on tollfree 0800 428 428 from anywhere in South Africa or use their “Please Call Me” option to get them to call you back by dialling *120*7867# on your cell phone.
iii. ICAS Protect Helpline number-tollfree 0800-055-7215