South Africans can no longer depend on government to fight the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV).
That’s according to Dr Mbulelo Dyasi from the South African National AIDS Council.
Dr Dyasi says while the reporting of GBV crimes has gained momentum in recent years, some victims feel the country’s justice system is failing them.
He says repeat offenders, largely due to the DNA testing backlog, is causing delays in the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators.
Dr Dyasi says, “This campaign of HIV, GBV and Femicide, it must be led by communities. Communities must develop structures like your street champions, we must have these champions where we protect our streets.”
South Africa has been described as a lawless nation that lacks accountability when it comes to GBV.
This is according to civil society organisations that attended the second day of the Presidential Summit on GBVF in Midrand, Johannesburg recently.
The South African government has been criticised for favouring perpetrators of violence, rather than the victims. Civil society organisations say they are inundated with women and children that have either been raped or beaten, more often than not by an intimate partner or someone known to them.
Victims said that reporting the abuse to police remains futile as they sometimes ridiculed at stations and they have no faith that their abusers will ever be prosecuted.
Loyiso Saliso is the national task team spokesperson for the #TotalShutdown movement. The movement protested against the country’s pervasive gender-based violence and femicide and offered the 24 demands as a solution which led to the first summit.
Saliso says hearing about rape and abuse is no longer a shock because it happens so frequently.
She speaks about some of the most horrific cases her organisation is dealing with, many of which involve young children.