Court at war with gender-based abuse

Alex Secondary School girls and women on a warpath at Alex Magistrates' Courton against gender-based abuse. Photo: Leseho Manala

 

Court A at Alexandra Magistrates’ Court reverberated in revolutionary songs and impassioned pleas for the immediate end to women abuse.

This by women who were commemorating August as Women’s Month and they said the court should be dispensing justice and equality and ensuring their Constitutional rights are restored.

The event was also a follow-up to a partnership of the court and local non-governmental organisations with girls from Alex Secondary School. The girls are part of a pilot initiative to empower them with knowledge of their rights and coping skills against increasing abuse and femicide making the country unsafe for all females and children in general. This from men who they expect to protect, nurture and love them. Some victims of the abuse present disclosed heart-wrenching testimonies on gender-based violence which left the participants cold.

A senior court official who requested not to be named said, because the abuse and killings of females by spouses has been normalised, it has paralysed society forcing girls and victims not to speak out fear. “The commemoration and pilot are to make them aware from a young age what abuse is, its dynamics, how to prevent it, their rights and essential mechanisms for their daily coping,” she said.

She added that the girls should be encouraged to view courts as friendly spaces that also give advice and enforce their rights. This was said to ululations by the participants who decried the inadequate enforcement of sexual offences legislation they said leaves them as broken souls after years of harassment, stoking and eventual death at the hands of men.

Elizabeth Mokwena of the non-profit organisation, Victim Empowerment Programme at the Alex Police Station, said despite available information on abuse prevention and support, women fear to break up with abusive men who disregard protection orders without consequences on them. She urged the justice system and empowerment agencies to explain the protection mechanisms to women in order to encourage more reporting and to know where to get counselling support, escort to court and shelters.

“It’s vital for the police and the courts to handle cases of abuse comprehensively and quickly in order to save lives and ensure successful prosecutions,” Mokwena said.

Motivational speaker from the non-profit organisation Humanity Must Arise and former abuse victim, Charlotte Gumbi urged for deep introspection on the genesis of sexual abuse she said has been worsened by cyberbullying. “The abuse will only end when society is truthful about its causes, work collectively to create awareness about it starting with young boys being mentored by positive role models.

“Girls should also speak the truth when abused in order to free themselves and break the cycle.”

Gumbi also urged society to stop always blaming female victims of abuse which leaves them traumatised.

Details: Humanity Must Rise 061 360 7544.

  AUTHOR
Leseho Manala

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