25/11/2013 – ACDP remains concerned about shortage of facilities for abused woman and children in SA

ACDP Parliament
Media Release
Cheryllyn Dudley, MP and Whip

ACDP remains concerned about shortage of facilities for abused woman and children in SA

The ACDP today noted the start of the annual 16 Days of Activism Campaign which will run from 25 November, to 10 December 2013.

ACDP Member of Parliament, Cheryllyn Dudley, today said:

“The theme again this year is ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World!’ – a statement that in my opinion is entirely apt and carries an important message of family and the need to support and strengthen family.

As I said last year – when this campaign was first launched I was sceptical – mostly because I was concerned that the real issues would be lost in the hype! The 16 day focus on violence against women and children, however, does appear to have made some kind of difference as it is welcomed by those involved with delivering social services within communities – who say – it is ‘really important’ as it is highlighting the issues and making it a little easier for women to come out and reveal their plight.

Statistics for example, indicate that a woman is raped every 26 seconds in South Africa but social workers say this is an underestimation of the real situation.

The ACDP remains concerned that there is definitely not enough help or facilities in South Africa for abused women and children nor is their adequate provision for interventions with perpetrators.

Domestic violence which is a major problem in South Africa, is a specialised field and is extremely complex.  While it may be helpful in some cases, it is often not enough, for a woman to be encouraged to just get a protection order.

To break the cycle of continued abuse professional intervention for an abused woman and her children – and the perpetrator – is crucial.

The few organizations and facilities that function in communities are overwhelmed with women and children in distress; from devastating consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, to physical and emotional abuse of women and children. Many women who seek help are sent back to abusive relationships and at best acquire restriction orders and jail terms.

Abused women often say they don’t want divorce – they just want the violence to stop. Many times the perpetrator is both father and provider and locking him up makes things worse!

The ACDP is convinced that in order to stop the cycle of abuse and bring about change we will need to resource strengthen and extend the reach of organizations that are making a difference especially in the area of training of community leaders and churches.

The ACDP also calls on government to help create public awareness where resources are available.

The ACDP acknowledges the role of the ’16 Days campaign’ in helping to break the silence of intimate partner abuse, making a little easier for abused people to come forward and get help for themselves and their children.

A major concern for the ACDP is that real respect for human rights is not possible without respect for human life and in South Africa – as with many other parts of the world – this concept has been clouded by confusion regarding a woman’s right to reproductive health and a distorted right to take the life of a child growing in her womb.  This has to change if we want children to have an ingrained respect for life and human rights as an extension of this.

We have seen that laws help create, change or confirm mindsets to some degree and the ACDP believes that in order to ensure greater safety and security of women and children, the mindset of the nation must change – laws must change, help must be a priority funding area and positive campaigns promoting care and respect for all are key.

The ACDP has said that more and more legislation just adds to the chaos – gender equality for example begins with education and decent jobs – we don’t need more legislation – we need the guts to hold unions accountable – and we need more flexible, creative and stable labour policies to attract foreign and local investment.

Gender violence and rape – like all violence and abuse must be dealt with primarily by building and maintaining an effective police force, led by professionals appointed on the basis of merit and experience – and not on the basis of race and politics.”

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