All Gender & Sexual Diversity

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Stakeholders working to combat Gender-Based Violence question to what extent the 2017/18 budget reflect government’s commitment to effectively meet the true costs associated with addressing violence against women and children.

By honouring Nomarussia Bonase with this award, the jury of the Anne Klein Women’s Award 2017 acclaims the work and commitment of a South African activist who tirelesly advocates for women’s rights, gender democracy, reparation and reconciliation. Nomarussia Bonase is a role model to many.

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While the holiday season brings quality family time, it also brings out a more sinister side of many households. According the provincial branch of the National Shelter Movement (NSM), the season is a time of increased risk of domestic violence and intimate partner violence.

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125 queer Muslim activists and allies from around the world gathered outside Cape Town in October to build a movement encouraging inclusive interpretations of Islam that honor and respect their identities in full.

Violence against women is a significant problem that profoundly affects the physical and mental wellbeing of those affected. While medicolegal interventions in South Africa have been firmly established to respond to sexual offences, no formal protocols on intimate partner violence interventions at primary healthcare level are in place yet.

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Domestic violence survivors rely on shelters to help leave life threatening relationships – and navigate the obstacles of the criminal justice system.

Shelters for abused women play a critical role in providing protection, care and psychosocial support to those affected by Gender-Based Violence. The Domestic Violence Act (1998) enshrines the state’s obligation to provide survivors of abuse with shelters, but whilst the act is a crucial piece of legislation, the provision of sheltering services has not been without its challenges. HBS Project Manager Claudia Lopes recently spoke to SAfm about a new project which aims to support state accountability for adequate and effective provision of domestic violence survivor support programmes, specifically those associated with the provision of shelter for abused women.

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June is notable for having two commemorative days dedicated to younger persons: International Children’s Day1 on the 1 st of June and South Africa’s Youth Day on June 16. Sadly, however, there remains very little for young people in South Africa to celebrate, particularly in the light of excessive levels of violence and sexual abuse directly targeting or negatively impacting young persons.

In a new project launching tomorrow (Friday, 20 May) – Enhancing State Responsiveness to Gender-Based Violence: Paying the True Costs – the National Shelter Movement (NSM) of South Africa joins forces with the Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBF) Southern Africa to keep the spotlight squarely focused on domestic violence in South Africa (SA) and how government interventions meet the diverse needs of survivors.

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Gender-based violence, and in particular violence aimed at women, cost South Africa between R28.4 billion and R42.4bn for the period 2012/2013. This, according to a KPMG report, “Too costly to ignore – the economic impact of gender-based violence in South Africa”, represented 0.9 percent and 1.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), respectively.

With this edition of Perspectives, the Heinrich Böll Foundation seeks to unpack some of the underlying tensions and challenges facing the promotion of sexual and reproductive rights on Africa.

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Cape Town - A striking mural in Khayelitsha about the abuse of women has had an unusual effect on residents, who say they want more paintings depicting the problems facing their communities.

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Following the creation in 2013 of a mural about abuse of women, Makhaza residents have suggested other murals should be built focusing on rape.

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Women’s magazines have long faced critique for their often narrow and conceptualized portrayal of women and the impact that this has on the consumer. A study conducted in America for example found that reading a women’s magazine for merely three minutes negatively affected the self-worth and self-esteem of 70% of women who participated in the study. In this paper, feminist researcher Joy Watson and Heinrich Böll Foundation Programme Manager, Claudia Lopes explore some of the ways in which women’s glossy magazines depict harmful messages and images that detract from eradicating gender inequity while also bringing to the fore some of the ways in which magazines have empowered and helped women re-define themselves over different periods in time.

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Following the death of Anene Booysen in February 2013, the Heinrich Boll Foundation undertook a study to examine the response from government, the media and society to the death of Anene. This study entailed conversations with community activists. A key finding of the study was that the statistics on rape and violence against women and girls do not paint a complete picture of the extent of gender-based violence in the area.

The Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southern Africa office spoke to five leading women’s rights activists  on their perceptions of the challenges that women in South Africa face today and whether the Beijing Declaration, and South Africa’s commitment to it, remains relevant to addressing those challenges.

This publication documents an exchange project undertaken by the India and South Africa offices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation on sexual violence between 2013 and 2015. The project sought to analyse and raise debates on what drives and sustains sexual violence against women in these two countries and to determine whether strategies to prevent and redress this are working. A documentary based on the project is also available for viewing.

It’s hard being gay and a sangoma, traditional healer Michael Khumalo told a workshop organised as part of the Khumbulani Pride events and hosted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Cape Town.

This report is a follow-up to the preliminary report produced by the Women’s Trust (TWT) and the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) in early 2014 on the effectiveness of the SiMuka! Zimbabwe, Woman, Get Counted! Register to Vote! in getting women to register to vote and to vote. This report goes further to note that whilst it is encouraging to see women turn out to vote in elections, and even more gratifying to see that the turn out can be strongly increased by woman to woman advocacy, there is always need to conduct a reality check on the actual process of the election and its outcome. This report investigates whether what happened before, during and after the elections affects women’s views of the elections and whether this differs for women in urban areas as for women in rural areas.

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Claudia Lopes, Programme Manager at the Heinrich Böll Foundation reports on the recent rape, torture and death of 3-year old Jamie Naidoo and questions state funding to social welfare organisations and the long-term impact of the 16 Days of Activism on No Violence against Women and Children.

What we do

Realising substantive gender equality in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe has been challenging. Progressive legislation and policies have not always been translated into effective government programmes. Some of the gains that have been achieved are being threatened by rising traditionalism and reactionary populism. Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and communities in the region remain disadvantaged, stigmatised and excluded from many aspects of economic, political and social life.

Public and political awareness-raising and the prevention of gender based and sexual violence are therefore core focus areas of our work. We also partner with key civil society actors as well as public and religious thought leaders to effectively challenge homophobic policies, legislations and attitudes.