‘We simply want to feel safe again’

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Community members in Upington, Northern Cape, are wary of gender-based violence.  They marched to a local police station on Friday, following a spate of rapes and murders, including femicide over the past few months.

14 year old Esmerelda Isaacs lost her life after going missing at the weekend, she was stabbed multiple times.

Isaac’s family is preparing to bury her this weekend. Her grandmother Marie Julies says the teenager will be remembered, “my life will be empty without her. She was always the one.”

The community lamented the fact that women from the area don’t feel safe in the streets, doing their shopping or even in their own homes. They want more visible policing and want police to act on drug dens in the town.

Institutions have been urged to work together to deal with growing femicide and gender-based violence in the province. The Northern Cape Gender Equality Commission’s Tshepo Nosi says there is a plan to work together.

“ To assist us to work together, we all need to work together. The victim, empowerment programme – we have this integrated plan where different departments, government, stakeholders come together and work through all the issues that affect gender-based violence.”

Communities have also started social media alert groups to assist women. They’ve asked the police to look into ways to monitor these and react when necessary.

Women in Upington say they simply want to feel safe again.