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Ending the violence at home

Intimate partner violence – particularly sexual violence – is an underreported and hidden problem in South Africa. High levels of gender based violence are highlighted during 16 Days of Activism and Women’s Month but the public perception is that sexual violence and abuse is perpetrated largely by strangers. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Intimate partner violence (IPV), defined as the experience of “physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse” is a significant public health and human rights problem across the globe and in South Africa. In a nationally representative study on IPV,…

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What women face

It’s Women’s Month. A time to remember the courage and activism of the Women’s March and to celebrate women’s contribution to our democracy. But it is equally important to reflect on the challenges South African women continue to face and what can be done to combat this. Vulnerability to HIV Women and girls carry the bulk of the HIV burden in South Africa. They are more at risk of infection and more likely to be caring for those affected. HIV incidence is highest in young women aged 15-24 at 2.3%, making up a quarter of all new infections. Adolescent girls…

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Sign the End the Violence Petition

South Africa is in the grip of an epidemic of violence against women and children. Let’s join together and do something about it. Sign the campaign petition: End the Violence: Commit to a National Plan on Gender-Based Violence. The campaign calls on government to commit to a National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence (GBV). This plan must focus on better service delivery for victims of violence, address the critical primary prevention aspect of GBV and the roll-out of prevention programmes that should address harmful gender norms and masculinity and equitable relationships amongst men and women alike. It should provide a…

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Database activism

Databases can save lives. No, seriously! A very special initiative to build and maintain a database of domestic violence shelters and NGOs working with victims of domestic and intimate partner violence in South Africa is a clear case of database activism. Juanita Van Zyl, Manager of the GIS division at Manstrat, saw someone share a link of shelters on Twitter during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. “When I followed the link, I found shelters in every single state of the United States. Out of interest, I did the same for South Africa. I…

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